OCP celebrates 25 years as the organic experts!

Posted On: 3/11/2016 12:00:00 AM

Long before organics became trendy and the world worried about chemicals in their food and neonicotinoids in bee pollen, we here at Organic Crop Protectants (OCP) were busy developing safe organic options for the horticulture sector.  And 25 years later we’re still at it!

Organic Crop Protectants was formed in Sydney in 1991 by Founding Directors Leyland Minter and Dr Doreen Clark (AM). Leyland had a background in horticulture and agriculture and was looking for ways to develop more eco-friendly products. He knew Doreen through her chemical testing and analysis business Analchem BioAssay and felt that together with her organic chemistry background they’d make a great team.

Founders Leyland Minter and Doreen Clark with the first OCP product Synertrol.

The first product was Synertrol and represented a significant new offering to farmers and growers as a 100% botanical oil adjuvant that improved spray efficacy and reduced drift. 25 years on and Synertrol is still part of the range. Of course the OCP range has expanded significantly and now includes:

  • Botanical and biological insecticides
  • Fungicides
  • Soil improvers
  • Biostimulants
  • Speciality foliar nutrients and fertilisers
  • Biological agents (beneficial bacteria, fungi and viruses)
  • Traps and monitoring devices

What makes our product range so impressive is our commitment to being genuinely eco-friendly. No other Australian company provides the range of legitimate APVMA Approved and Registered Organic products that are used by growers of Certified Organic produce.

eco-organic garden range

In 2005 we expanded our reach further with the launch of the eco-organic garden range. The range introduced key OCP products to home gardeners via small pack sizes. Organic gardening suddenly became easy for conventional gardeners everywhere as retailers quickly added the products to their shelves.

Raising awareness of beneficial insects was the driving force behind the creation of The Garden Guardians book with Jane Davenport in 2006. The book highlights the importance of beneficial insects in gardens and how to attract and look after them. It has been hugely popular, winning two Laurel Awards and being reprinted 4 times. There is even a US version.

In 2007 we pushed further into the world of beneficial insects introducing the Backyard Buddies range of live insects. Suddenly gardeners could walk into Bunnings and order lacewings, ladybeetles, predatory mites and stingless wasps to control common garden pests instead of trying to spray them out of existence.

For 25 years we have worked closely with universities, government departments and other researchers to help develop innovative organic solutions. Some of these include:

HIPPO Enhanced eco-oil initially involved 2 years work with the NSW Dept of Primary Industries (DPI) to register Australia’s first plant based horticultural oil. This was followed up with 6 years of research with Charles Sturt University and Washington State University to create a double action insecticide that controls pests while actively attracting beneficial insects into crops and gardens.

eco-fungicide (and ecocarb) required 4 years of development with South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI) looking for ways to control Powdery and Downy Mildews. The industry now has an organic alternative to the commonly used sulphur and copper sprays which cause havoc with pollinators, beneficial insects, soil microbes and earthworms.

Metcalf Trichoderma Range came about as we supported the work of Dr Dean Metcalf to isolate and manufacture a range of beneficial Trichoderma fungi that protect crops against common pathogens like phytophthora and botrytis.

Grandex is one of our most recent products and introduces Australian growers to viral control methods for codling and oriental fruit moths. Z-Traps are another exciting development where we teach growers to use real time monitoring systems to track pest movement through crops and minimise pesticide use.

Some of our current research projects include an organic nematicide, new fruit fly control methods, pheromone isolation of fruit spotting bugs and trap development and an organic herbicide. It’s exciting times for us as we watch these projects get closer and closer to being turned into products.

Today OCP is now co-owned by Doreen and Gary Leeson after Leyland retired a few years ago. Through her work with OCP and many other projects Doreen has amassed a string of recognitions including the Order of Australia for her contribution to science and education and a Centenary Medal. She even has a beautiful camellia named after her.

Gary Leeson joined the company as a young horticultural scientist 23 years ago and for many years now has been the Managing Director driving new product development and expanding the company. His commitment to the organic industry via OCP and as long term Chair of the Bio-Inputs Committee saw him collect the 2015 Organic Industry Silver Leadership Award at the Australian Organic Awards.

As you can see from humble beginnings OCP has grown into the leading provider of organic products to the horticultural industry and we can truly call ourselves the organic experts! Our core markets are Australia and New Zealand but word has spread further afield with customers to be found in Korea, UK, Singapore, Turkey, United Arab Emirates and elsewhere.

If you’d like to learn more about our products then visit:

Home Gardeners: www.ecoorganicgarden.com.au/products/

Commercial Growers: www.ocp.com.au

Gary Leeson 2015 Organic Leadership Award

Gary Leeson 2015 Organic Leadership Award