Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is a term we see everywhere today. But what does it mean, exactly? And how do you apply this method successfully? We'll tell you what you need to know!
The main idea behind IPM is that the greenhouse or field forms an ecosystem. The mutual relationships between crops, their attackers, and the natural enemies are of crucial importance. There's actually a kind of triangular relationship, and each of the three sides of the triangle must receive the same amount of attention:
- You strengthen and protect the crop.
- You tackle diseases and pests.
- You strengthen and protect the population of natural enemies.
But keep in mind: IPM only works well with a systematic, well-considered approach. You need a plan for the entire growing season. Waiting and just responding to an emerging infestation is not the right approach and has too little effect.
Plant resilience, (Plant Growth Promotion and Crop Resilience Page) is a critical success factor within IPM. After all, if a plant doesn't get sick, you don't have to use any control. If you want your IPM approach to be successful, you need to start by selecting strong, resilient crops and varieties. As a grower, you can also improve the resilience of crops below and above the soil surface in various ways, for example with plant enhancers and useful soil fungi and bacteria.
Afterwards, you should try to prevent infection with diseases and attack by pests as much as possible. If problems do occur in spite of this, you can solve them using natural enemies. It's often even better to have the natural enemies on stand-by in the crop, even before there is any problem at all.
Only in emergencies should you resort to chemicals – and then only those means that are relatively friendly to the natural enemies. Otherwise the ecosystem you have built up so carefully will collapse again. You can check this with the Koppert Side Effects app. (Side-Effects Database Page)
To achieve all this, you must have sufficient knowledge of diseases and pests on the one hand and the natural enemies on the other. You also have to continuously monitor how both aspects develop in your crop; monitoring (Monitoring Solutions Page) is crucial. Koppert consultants can help you with this. In short: many factors determine the success of IPM!