Integrated Pest Management
What is Integrated Pest Management (IPM)?
IPM is an approach used to control pests. In crop production pests refer to any organism which has the potential to cause harm to crops and has a negative impact on both crop yield and quality (e.g. aphids, slugs, weeds, diseases, pigeons, crows etc)
The main components of an IPM approach include taking into consideration cultural, physical and biological aspects of pest control in the first instance, with chemical control options considered in the last instance.
An IPM approach can provide direct benefits to farmers through regular monitoring of crops for pests. This enables farmers to make decisions based on observations, and use an optimum mix of pest control techniques and tools which bear in mind the economic threshold level, risks associated with control selection as well as environmental and human safety.
The IPM approach is particularly important for tillage farmers as it has become increasingly difficult to control pests using a single approach. This dependence can also be considerably costly in the long-term.
There are a number of key steps to implementing IPM on the farm and this IPM Tool (PDF) highlights these steps.
Teagasc are involved in many parts of the IPM area including research into disease and pest control, cultural methods of control and farmer attitudes. Below are details of a study into farmer practice how to improve practice further.
The number of pesticide resistance cases in Ireland is on the increase, this coupled with the fact that the availability of chemical actives is declining means that a significant challenge exists for tillage farmers to continue to control pests effectively into the future.
It is important that farmers become more aware of the importance of implementing an IPM approach and build on their knowledge of these approaches.