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Company Profile…Russell IPM: Applying science to pest control

| February 5, 2020

Technological change is occurring faster than ever and never before have we had the ability to predict, contain and eliminate pest invasions with the level of precision now available to us. As the reliance on data from pest control sites grows, the Russell IPM Group has created two new dedicated companies of specialists to contribute to its next round of novel products, specifically for the smart farm and the modern pest controller.

One of two new companies under its umbrella, Russell IoT, is developing innovative products that utilize the “internet of things”, artificial intelligence and deep machine learning. The company’s pest monitors and traps will provide farmers with real-time tools for smart decision-making in both the pest control and agricultural sectors. Innovate UK has supported business growth by funding Russell IoT to develop a smart trap for remote, autonomous monitoring of spotted wing drosophila (SWD), an economically important pest of fruit crops. NIAB-EMR, UK’s leading centre for innovation and research on horticultural crops has been working with Russell IoT to develop algorithms that identify the species and gender of insect pests, for use in Russell smart traps.

The Russell IPM Group UK site

The second new company within the Russell IPM Group, Russell Bio Solutions, is focused on formulating biostimulants and biological crop protection products based on microbials and plant extracts. Its research and development (R&D) department is developing sustainable, climate-smart alternatives to traditional pesticides. Russell Bio Solutions’ portfolio of plant adjuvants, soil boosters and biostimulants will offer more targeted crop protection to farmers and will be helping them meet the reality of increased pesticide resistance by arming them with new pest control formulations that reduce reliance on chemical pesticides.

Founder and Chairman of the Russell IPM Group, Dr Al Zaidi, will be overseeing the company’s continuous investment in R&D and supporting the new leadership team. Dr Al Zaidi feels it is paramount to stay true to the mission of putting science into practice, despite the changes sweeping the industry.

Testing the effectiveness of our products in a cabbage patch.

With the goal to further expand the reach of its strongest products, the Russell IPM Group has segmented its product development activities in five Business Units. Responsible for each product’s market positioning, the Business Units are led by technical experts with commercial experience from different parts of the globe.

With 11 subsidiaries at key locations around the world, the North Wales-based manufacturer is prepared to continue trading at an ever-higher level, finding itself in a stronger position than its EU-based competitors. Russell IPM’s product ranges for the agricultural, public health and professional pest control markets have always been ahead of the curve in terms of practicality and innovation. For instance, precise pest monitoring through pheromones ideally complements the use of beneficial insects in agricultural crop management. It serves as the foundation for a non-toxic, complete IPM programme, in tune with the trend of offering preventative as opposed to curative solutions.

Analysing the quality of our pheromone samples.

Russell IPM’s new microencapsulated formulations mean increased longevity. Applied in the stored products and food-handling industry, pheromone-based mating disruptor Dismate PE provides year-round protection from moth infestations. Its popularity has seen exponential growth, thanks to its discreet and unfailing pest control action.

To diversify its offerings, the Russell IPM Group has forged partnerships with a number of governmental and academic bodies. Together, they are developing and testing a range of smart monitoring traps for vector control and pest management. Smart monitoring traps for mosquitoes are going to be on offer in 2020 for vector control. Smart traps for rats and bedbug management are being tested by the public health team, whilst SWD and moth monitoring products are being developed by Russell IoT’s agronomy experts.

The Russell IPM Group ended 2019 having achieved many new developments, which should come as no surprise, given that the company has invested in technical based expertise and is proud to employee PhDs in the following areas;

  • Applied entomology.
  • Chemistry.
  • Computing and image recognition.
  • Chemical ecology.
  • Polymer and colloid science.
  • Conservation ecology.
  • Crops genetic resources.

which enables the Russell IPM Group to put science into practice.

Founded in 1993 by Dr Shakir Al- Zaidi as a specialist supplier of semio-chemical pest control solutions, Russell IPM has established itself as a global leader in crop protection and pest management.

Sharing his vision for the future, Managing Director Dr Al-Zaidi said: “We want to develop and market technologies that meet the challenge of feeding the world’s population, without harming people or their environment. Our goal is to expand our successful partnerships, in order to achieve global reach and to share knowledge and benefits with the world.”

Dosing of pheromones in the lab.

Appointed to the new management team of the Group as General Manager is Russell’s long-standing Company Accountant, Simon McGrath, who said that his role has changed to now “provide leadership and management for the various teams across the Group and to ensure quality relationships are built with customers and supply chains.” Mr McGrath is joined by Ms Kathy Fennah, Operations Director, with more than 20 years’ experience spanning all product ranges of Russell IPM. Ms Fennah brings a wealth of knowledge to the role and is fundamental to the past and future success of the Group.

Russell IPM also welcomes Dr Clare Sampson as Technical Director. With a PhD in entomology, Dr Sampson specialises in developing integrated pest management programs at the grower level. With 40 years’ experience in the vegetable, flower and fruit crops on a global scale, she is known for putting science into practice in order to manage growers’ pest control problems while reducing reliance on chemical pesticides.

A Rhylure product being prepared in the lab.

Driving the commercial activities of the group is Hussein Fawzi Commercial Director, currently heading up the Glue Board & Roller Trap business unit, Hussein Fawzi, who has successfully established our business in North America. He would like to help build a fast-moving, customer- driven and forward-thinking commercial team to reach the growers who need Russell’s pheromone-infused, long-lasting insect monitoring tools the most.

Dr Nayem Hassan, Director of Russell Bio Solutions, has headed up Russell IPM’s R&D department for 15 years and is embarking on the new challenge of driving the Bio Solutions business forward. Dr Hassan has brought to market some of the company’s seminal biorational solutions brands, such as Recharge and Yokosan. He would like to see Russell Bio Solutions become the leading global biological pesticide and biofertilizer provider. Dr Hassan has always felt passionate about developing sustainable, climate-smart alternative crop management solutions.

Russell’s manufacturing teams boast employees with cumulative service of 80 years, proof of how the company cares for its staff. A sizable investment was made in new lab and manufacturing equipment at Russell IPM and a new state of the art lab and factory opened doors in Flint to host the Russell Bio Solutions teams. An extension to Russell IPM’s headquarters in Deeside is planned for the next two years.

A notable industry recognition in 2019 was the Outstanding Achievement award granted to The Russell IMP Group at the first Biopesticide Summit in the UK. In 2018, the company scooped a Queen’s Award for Innovation, its second in this category. The latest Queen’s Award was granted for developing unique colour-coded sticky roller traps infused with pheromone. The rolls reduce thrips numbers and crop damage in fruit crops, resulting in higher returns and less pesticide use for growers.

In 2012, the company was awarded another Queen’s Awards for Innovation, for the Ferolite solar trap that transformed the control of Tuta absoluta worldwide. Another Queen’s Award for International Trade was earned in 2011 for Russell IPM’s contributions to the international management of the Tuta absoluta that then ravaged Africa.

With consumer engagement across the food chain becoming an established macro-trend in pest and disease control, Russell IPM Group has expanded into offering bespoke solutions, developed in synergy with technology and the environment. For pest controllers and farmers, smart technology and biorational products for pest and crop management are soon going to be the norm, and the Russell IPM Group is looking forward to serving as their reliable port of call.

For more information visit : Russell IPM web-site
Simon McGrath – General, Russell IPM.
Published in International Pest Control – January/February 2020

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Category: Company news, Company Profile

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