Plants

Integrated Pest Management (IPM)

Integrated Pest Management (IPM)

General Overview

A cornerstone of the Directive is the promotion of IPM, for which general principles are laid down in Annex III to the Directive. Along with the promotion of organic farming, IPM is one of the tools for low-pesticide-input pest management, and IPM must be implemented by all professional users.

  • IPM involves an integrated approach to the prevention and/or suppression of organisms harmful to plants through the use of all available information, tools and methods

  • IPM aims to keep the use of pesticides and other forms of intervention only to levels that are economically and ecologically justified and which reduce or minimise risk to human health and the environment.

  • Sustainable biological, physical and other non-chemical methods must be preferred to chemical methods if they provide satisfactory pest control.

Definition

Integrated pest management means careful consideration of all available plant protection methods and subsequent integration of appropriate measures that discourage the development of populations of harmful organisms and keep the use of plant protection products and other forms of intervention to levels that are economically and ecologically justified and reduce or minimise risks to human health and the environment. 'Integrated pest management' emphasises the growth of a healthy crop with the least possible disruption to agro-ecosystems and encourages natural pest control mechanisms.

Principles

  1. The prevention and/or suppression of harmful organisms should be achieved or supported among other options especially by:

    • crop rotation,

    • use of adequate cultivation techniques (e.g. stale seedbed technique, sowing dates and densities, under-sowing, conservation tillage, pruning and direct sowing),

    • use, where appropriate, of resistant/tolerant cultivars and standard/certified seed and planting material,

    • use of balanced fertilisation, liming and irrigation/drainage practices,

    • preventing the spreading of harmful organisms by hygiene measures (e.g. by regular cleansing of machinery and equipment),

    • protection and enhancement of important beneficial organisms, e.g. by adequate plant protection measures or the utilisation of ecological infrastructures inside and outside production sites.

  2. Harmful organisms must be monitored by adequate methods and tools, where available. Such adequate tools should include observations in the field as well as scientifically sound warning, forecasting and early diagnosis systems, where feasible, as well as the use of advice from professionally qualified advisors.

  3. Based on the results of the monitoring the professional user has to decide whether and when to apply plant protection measures. Robust and scientifically sound threshold values are essential components for decision making. For harmful organisms threshold levels defined for the region, specific areas, crops and particular climatic conditions must be taken into account before treatments, where feasible.

  4. Sustainable biological, physical and other non-chemical methods must be preferred to chemical methods if they provide satisfactory pest control.

  5. The pesticides applied shall be as specific as possible for the target and shall have the least side effects on human health, non-target organisms and the environment.

  6. The professional user should keep the use of pesticides and other forms of intervention to levels that are necessary, e.g. by reduced doses, reduced application frequency or partial applications, considering that the level of risk in vegetation is acceptable and they do not increase the risk for development of resistance in populations of harmful organisms.

  7. Where the risk of resistance against a plant protection measure is known and where the level of harmful organisms requires repeated application of pesticides to the crops, available anti-resistance strategies should be applied to maintain the effectiveness of the products. This may include the use of multiple pesticides with different modes of action.

  8. Based on the records on the use of pesticides and on the monitoring of harmful organisms the professional user should check the success of the applied plant protection measures.