IPM is a decision-making process that uses all necessary techniques to suppress pests effectively, economically and in an environmentally sound manner.
Part of IPM means controlling pests in a targeted manner. Growers who follow IPM procedures identify pests, monitor pest levels carefully, and choose the most targeted products to manage their pest situation.
The Canadian Expert Committee in Integrated Pest Management wrote a definition of IPM: “IPM is a decision-making process that uses all necessary techniques to suppress pests effectively, economically and in an environmentally sound manner.”
Identifying pests. Whether it’s weeds, insects or crop diseases, IPM growers carefully identify pests before applying products. They want to choose the best product for the situation they’re facing.
Monitoring pest populations. It’s important to use crop protection products at the best timing possible to achieve the maximum effect without hurting the crop or things like beneficial insects.
Using predictive tools. It can be difficult to time a fungicide or insecticide application. Often predictive environmental tools are used to time a crop protection application.
Protecting beneficial insects is key to a sound IPM strategy. Some beneficials, like parasitoids and predators, are nature’s way of controlling crop-destroying insects. Other insects, like bees, pollinate crops and are necessary for life on this planet. It’s important to use insecticides that have a negligible impact on beneficial insects.
To minimize potential negative impacts on beneficial non-target insects when using pesticides, farmers should always read and follow label directions and observe other precautions. These include reducing spray drift by avoiding application on windy days, and avoiding application during the day when bees are foraging. Keep good communications open with neighbours about spraying, and select products that are less toxic to bees.
Using the same products over and over can cause resistance. Growers practicing IPM often use products with new modes of actio or products with multiple modes of action on the same pest.
Practicing sound IPM is going to be key as growers work to feed a growing worldwide population.