Integrated Pest Management
How to create unfavourable conditions for plant pests
What is IPM
Integrated Pest Management (IPM), also known as integrated pest control (IPC) is a multi-faceted strategy that focuses on long term prevention of harmful plant pests. IPM/IPC is intended to use natural predators, parasites or beneficial insects to control pests. Pesticides should only be used as a support, where pests cannot be controlled by natural means.
This blog will provide you with information on how the knowledge of pest habits, life cycle, needs and dislikes can benefit in their control. Further, you'll get an outline on how to use pesticides in a more targeted way, and when and how to resort to less toxic methods.
Why an IPM approach should be preferred to the sole use of pesticides.
The exclusive use of pesticides for pest control can lead to several problems and limitations. These include the development of resistance to pesticides, high costs and toxicity to natural enemies and non-target organisms. In addition, excessive pesticide use affects human health, groundwater, and environmental quality. In particular, frequent and/or overuse of pesticides leads to increased selection pressure. Since naturally resistant individuals in a pest population are able to survive pesticide treatments, they also pass on their resistance traits to their offspring. As a result, each new generation of a pest population becomes increasingly difficult to control.
For the most efficient crop protection possible, farmers need to take a few measures before pests become a problem. Patience, attentiveness and regular attention are very important. Integrated Pest Management focuses on long term prevention. Although each situation is different, six main components are common in all IPM programs. By combining these principles, individualized IPM Programs can be created for any case and status of infestation:
Know Your Enemies
In order to fight or solve a problem, the exact problem or its origin should be known first. Do the crops suffer from a deficit, a pest infestation or a viral disease? For a quick diagnosis of whether a pest is present, or what problem your crops have, use the Plantix Health Check function.
Know Your Field
A well established IPM programme includes, of course, regular monitoring for pests, diseases, nutrient deficiencies, irrigation problems and much more. That means checking the growing area to identify which pests are present, how many there are, and what damage they've caused. There are different methods or routes as to how you can run your field best. Doing this you have to look for symptoms like mould, webbing, chlorosis, lesions, stunted or distorted growth, powdery residues, mottling, spittle and necrosis.
A good way to observe a field for pests is to work with sticky traps. With these, It is easy to see where the centre of the pest problem is and how intensively it has been spread in the field. The spiral route sketched below is best suited for placing sticky traps. Another good and reliable tool for scouting is the Plantix Healthcheck function. Combined with one of the outlined routes, you can quickly determine what kind of pest your crops are affected by, how far it has spread and what you can do about it.
IPM guidelines are best management practices for specific crops, developed by growers, university extension specialists, or IPM consultants. These guidelines are designed to be adapted to a specific pest on a specific crop. IPM guidelines can be used as a checklist for farmers to evaluate their on-farm pest control programmes.
Wherever possible, IPM tries to prevent infestation rather than treat it. Adequate prevention requires, of course, the implementation of the aforementioned disciplines. Plantix Advisory supports you in this and recommends various measures which will help you to prevent infestation.
IPM is a combination of strategic and tactical control measures. This includes the following management operations:
Cultural controls: Cultural controls refers to the deliberate alteration of the production system to reduce pest establishment or avoid pest injury to crops. For example, changing irrigation practices can reduce pest problems since too much water can increase root diseases and weeds. Crop rotation, border cropping or pruning on tree crops are also regarded as cultural practices. With Plantix's Crop Advisory function, you will be informed and guided through all practicable IPM measures available to you during the season.
Whether indoor, outdoor or in the greenhouse setting, a proper sanitation is also imperative for a successful IPM.
Mechanical and physical controls: Mechanical and physical control techniques are used to directly kill or suppress a pest or to make the environment unsuitable for pests. Whether traps for rodents, mulch for weed control or steam sterilisation of soil, all aim to eliminate pests in a sustainable way without harming the ecosystem.
Biological controls: This pest control technique is based on the use of natural enemies such as predators, parasites, pathogens and competitors. Biocontrol distinguishes between 3 strategies: the introduction of natural enemies (importation), the induction of a large amount of natural enemies (augmentation) and measures to conserve or support natural enemies in the production system (conservation).
Chemical control: Pesticides are only used in IPM when they are really needed. The right amount at the right time is particularly important here. (For example, fungicides are sprayed preventively). Of course, when selecting chemicals, possible effects on air, soil and water are also taken into account.
For quality control purposes as well as to review the control strategy, the effects of plant protection should be documented and evaluated after the measures have been taken.
In summary, IPM is a very broad field. Many methods are not necessarily applicable in practice for everyone. We recommend every cultivator interested in IPM to use it the Plantix App. All tips and hints from the Plantix Advisory refer to theories from the IPM cosmos and have been worked out in a practical way.
If you still need more information about Integrated Pest Management, don't hesitate to contact the #Plantixperts in the Plantix Community.