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IPM principles

Integrated pest management (IPM) is a strategy that encourages the reduction of pesticide use. It does this by employing a variety of pest control options in harmonious combination to contain or manage pests below their economic injury levels. These options include:

  • biological control
  • cultural control
  • varietal selection
  • chemical control

The aim of IPM is to maximise the use of biological control. Other control measures, especially chemicals, must play a supportive rather than disruptive role. Chemicals should not be used on a ‘calendar’ basis but strictly when needed, as defined by systematic pest monitoring. Selective rather than broadspectrum chemicals should take preference.The aim is to produce high-quality marketable produce at minimal cost by intelligently using the various control options to manage pests.

Advantages of IPM

The advantages of IPM are:

  • slower development of resistance to pesticides
  • reduced health risk to spray operators
  • reduced chemical contamination of food and the environment
  • reduced dependence on chemicals; hence IPM is a step towards sustainable agriculture
  • better plant health giving improved quality and production

Disadvantage of IPM

The disadvantage of IPM is that it is more complex than control by chemicals alone. It requires a greater understanding of the interactions between pests, beneficials, and the environment as well as the effects of chemicals.