We could classify integrated pest management as a middle ground between intensive agriculture and organic farming. It would be something like taking advantage of the chemical means that the industries offer us but using them with great care, in totally controlled doses and at specific times of the crop. We will tell you all this and much more in this article about integrated pest management.
This aspect has two names: either it is integrated pest management or it is known as integrated pest control . It can be defined as a strategy in which all possible means are used to manage the crop in the most efficient way possible.
THE OPTIMAL INTEGRATED PEST MANAGEMENT PROGRAM
WORK AND CROP MANAGEMENT
We could not establish a percentage, but we have to say that the management of the crop significantly influences the result of the production. In agriculture there are a series of tasks that condition such important things as the attack of pests and diseases, the contribution of fertilizers, irrigation, etc.
Within integrated pest management there are some very interesting practices, which are used when the minimum levels of the pest or disease do not reach thresholds for the use of chemical products.
They can be the following:
- Elimination of diseased plants.
- Cleaning of work tasks (scissors, saws, cutters, etc.). In this way we avoid the spread of viruses mechanically.
- Maintain adequate levels of fertility . Do not go overboard with the incorporation of nitrogen and control the levels of pathogens in the soil ( nematodes , larvae of soil insects, fungi and bacteria).
- Check the irrigation system . Specifically, its uniformity, in order to avoid unnecessary flooding that promotes the development of fungi in humid areas.
- Selection of the best plant material . In this there are many options. Choose varieties resistant to the characteristics where we plant. Among these choices we consider the characteristics of our soil (sandy, silty, clayey), drainage, the most common pests and diseases, etc.
- Herb control . Adventitious grasses can be a reservoir for pests and diseases. For example, thrips often inhabit areas with grass growth before attacking crops.
- Tilling, pruning and stubble removal:
- Control pruning : by eliminating affected parts of the plant we avoid its spread by the rest of the plant parts. Also, we must eliminate or burn said remains to prevent it from being a future reservoir for insects or fungi.
- Tilling : depending on which fungi or insects that inhabit the soil, the plow can be a good technique to modify the life of these pathogens in the soil, eliminate eggs and interrupt their reproduction.
As always, in the farmer’s culture, when he saw a pest (a small colony of aphids, thrips, spider, etc.), he used to load his sprayers and apply phytosanitary products everywhere throughout the plantation. Thus the whole problem is removed at a stroke.
Regarding this, there are times when a pest or disease can escape from the hands in a matter of a few days, but what is sought in the integrated management of pests and diseases is the constant supervision of the crop, in order to stop effectively the beginning of the attack of any insect or pest.
Sampling is based on measuring the percentage of the crop (or leaves) affected by a pest. If this percentage is below the recommended levels in integrated production , the crop will not undergo chemical treatment, but other solutions such as biological or mechanical control will be evaluated.
For example, in integrated pest management for stone fruit trees, a recommendation for treatment with aphids is to only apply chemicals when more than 5% of the shoots are affected.
Integrated pest management does not limit the use of synthetic phytosanitary products, since it is not organic farming , if not a middle ground, as we have commented before.
In this regard, integrated production seeks the use of authorized chemical products according to the country at the right time and dose, with a maximum number of applications.
It is understood that when chemical control is allowed it is because it is guaranteed that there would not be another more logical and coherent solution to control the pest or disease and that it does not go further.
+ Search for authorized active ingredients according to crop and pest or disease.
The search for a balance between organisms (and microorganisms) is the ultimate goal pursued in agriculture. When these imbalances appear is when one organism stands out above another. Above, pathogens have the upper hand, because they feed almost exclusively on the crop we grow, so it will have enough food to increase its population and become more aggressive.
The use of predators, parasites and other protective organisms keep these pathogens at bay, which reduce their population, their aggressiveness and, therefore, the damage in the crop.
Used efficiently, at the right time and with the recommended dose, they can prevent the presence and attack of many pests.
An example? Bacillus thuringiensis (against caterpillars), Orius (against thrips), Chrysopas (against thrips), Cocinella (aphids), Aphytis (against lice), Aphanteles sp. (against anarsia)
Finally, if you need to see an example of integrated cultivation in stone fruit trees, you can see it here .