Appendix 6: Integrated pest management
It is a requirement of the EU Sustainable use of Pesticides Directive (2009/128/ EC) (12) that member states should promote low pesticide input pest management, in particular Integrated Pest Management ( IPM).
The Directive defines IPM as follows “‘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.”
As part of this survey, additional data collection was conducted in relation to grower adoption of Integrated Pest Management ( IPM) measures. The term ‘pest’ is used to denote diseases, weeds and pests. This data collection was designed to inform the Scottish Government about the current adoption of IPM in the main crop sectors.
All growers were asked a series of questions about the IPM activities that they were implementing in their soft fruit crop production. Unlike the other statistics in this report, the figures reported in this section are not raised (i.e. are not national estimates) but represent only the responses of those surveyed.
In total IPM data was collected from 28 growers, representing 33 holdings and 68 per cent of the sampled soft fruit crop area (14 per cent of the census area). Of these growers, 82 per cent did not have an IPM plan, 11 per cent of growers completed their own IPM plan and seven per cent had a plan completed by their agronomist ( Figure 42). Completing an IPM plan is voluntary for Scottish farmers, but this helps meet their legal obligation to take reasonable precautions to protect human health and the environment when using pesticides. Completing an IPM plan will help the landowner/contractor to make the best possible and most sustainable use of all available methods for controlling pests, weeds and diseases.
Figure 42: Percentage of respondents with an IPM plan - 2016
Growers were asked about their IPM activities in relation to three categories; risk management, pest monitoring and pest control. Information was collected about all activities growers conducted in relation to each category. Despite the fact that the majority of growers did not complete an IPM plan, uptake of a wide range of IPM activities was encountered.
IPM programs aim to prevent or reduce the risk of pests becoming a threat by minimising the risk of damage occurring that will require subsequent control. Table 50 presents an overview of the risk management measures adopted by the growers surveyed. All the growers sampled used one or more risk management activity.
Just over half (54 per cent) of all growers reported that they used crop rotation to manage the risk of pest damage. Rotation is a basic principal of farming breaking the link between pathogen and host and reducing pest population build-up. It can also improve soil fertility and structure consequently increasing the vigour of subsequent crops. It should be noted that just over three quarters (76 per cent) of the crop area sampled was of crops grown in the soil with the remainder grown in bags, pots or troughs.
A similar proportion (54 per cent) of growers stated that they tested their soils in order to tailor inputs to improve crop performance. Half of the growers tested soil nutrient levels with lower proportions testing for disease, pH and nematodes ( Figure 43). By pre-emptively testing for nutritional and pest status farmers’ can make informed decisions about inputs required and crop choice for that field.
Sixty one per cent of growers reported that they managed their seed bed agronomy to reduce pest risk and increase crop performance. Half of growers increased organic matter to improve soil quality while a smaller proportion implemented other measures such as using a stale seed bed, soil or ridge cultivation, considering pest management when planning irrigation and use of raised beds ( Figure 44).
Almost 40 per cent of growers reported that they amended cultivation methods at sowing to try to increase crop success. A quarter of growers used peat as a pest free growing media and a smaller proportion used coir. Some growers also varied the sowing date and the planting distance or depth to mitigate for potential pest damage ( Figure 45).
Fifty seven per cent of the growers surveyed also stated that they considered risk management when selecting seeds and/or varieties. Forty three per cent selected resistant varieties to reduce damage and almost a third used certified plants. Some growers (11 per cent) also confirmed that they chose to adopt varietal diversification (using a range of varieties) to increase overall resistance to pests and environmental stresses ( Figure 46).
Almost 30 per cent of respondents sowed catch or cover crops as part of their crop production cycle ( Figure 47). These crops were cultivated to improve soil quality (18 per cent), to manage pests via biofumigation (seven per cent) and to provide habitat for beneficial organisms (four per cent).
Eighty two per cent of growers sampled reported that they adopted techniques to protect or enhance populations of beneficial insects. 46 per cent left uncultivated strips, 39 per cent planted pollen sources and almost a third planted wild flower strips. Other strategies included creation of ponds, hedges, woodland and beetle banks ( Figure 48). In addition, a small number of respondents used push-pull strategies to manage pests by using trap crops and repellent treatments on the main crop. For example, growing mayweeds at the end of tunnels to provide a host for aphid predators.
By controlling environmental factors growers can provide optimum growing conditions for plants which can enhance productivity and increase resilience to pests and disease. Almost a third of growers stated that they manipulated environmental factors to reduce pest risk ( Figure 49), including ventilation (32 per cent), heating and humidity (both 11 per cent each).
Finally, 93 per cent of the growers sampled reported that they adopted good crop hygiene techniques to reduce risk ( Figure 50). These included removal of diseased leaves or fruits (79 per cent), removal of debris between crops (71 per cent) and 43 per cent stated that they controlled risk by using healthy propagation material.
Table 50: Summary of responses to risk management questions - 2016
|Risk management activity||Percentage yes response|
|Cultivation of seed bed||61|
|Cultivations at sowing||39|
|Varietal or seed choice||57|
|Catch and cover cropping||29|
|Protection or enhancement of beneficial organism populations||82|
|Manipulation of environmental factors||32|
|Any risk management activity||100|
Figure 43: Types of soil testing recorded (percentage of respondents) - 2016
Note: ‘other’ includes pH
Figure 44: Methods of cultivating seed bed to reduce pest risk (percentage of respondents) - 2016
Note: ‘other’ includes use of raised beds
Figure 45: Methods of cultivating at sowing to reduce pest risk (percentage of respondents) - 2016
Note: ‘other’ included increasing planting depth and use of new soil in raised beds
Figure 46: Variety and seed choice to reduce pest risk (percentage of respondents) - 2016
Note: ‘other’ includes buying plants suitable for the region and buying plants from recommended organic supplier
Figure 47: Catch and cover cropping (percentage of respondents) -2016
Figure 48: Methods for protecting and enhancing beneficial organism populations (percentage of respondents) - 2016
Note: ‘other’ includes, beetle banks, buffer zones, grass & water margins, hedges, ponds, woodlands and mown grass paths
Figure 49: Methods for manipulation of environmental factors to reduce pest risk (percentage of respondents) - 2016
Figure 50: Types of crop hygiene practiced (percentage of respondents) -2016
In IPM, pests are monitored to determine whether control is economically justified and to effectively target control options. IPM programs aim to monitor and identify pests, so that appropriate control decisions can be made in conjunction with action thresholds. Table 51 presents an overview of the pest monitoring measures reportedly adopted by the growers surveyed. Eighty nine per cent of the growers sampled implemented one or more pest monitoring activity.
Seventy one per cent of growers stated that they regularly monitored crop growth stages and 86 per cent monitored and identified pests on their crops. Pest monitoring was conducted primarily by self-inspection (86 per cent) but also by use of BASIS qualified agronomists (18 per cent). Other methods included the use of pheromone and sticky traps (21 & four per cent respectively). In addition, some growers used risk warnings and technical bulletins to assess pest pressure ( Figure 51).
Over a third (39 per cent) of respondents also reported that they used specialist diagnostics when dealing with pests that were more problematic to identify or monitor. Thirty six per cent used tissue testing to monitor nutritional deficiencies, 14 per cent used clinic services to identify unknown pests and seven per cent used field or pest mapping ( Figure 52).
Table 51: Summary of responses to pest monitoring questions - 2016
|Pest monitoring activity||Percentage yes response|
|Setting action thresholds for crops||32|
|Monitor and identify pests||86|
|Use of specialist diagnostics||39|
|Regular monitoring of crop growth stage||71|
|Any pest monitoring activity||89|
Figure 51: Methods of monitoring and identifying pests (percentage of respondents) - 2016
Figure 52: Use of specialist diagnostics (percentage of respondents) - 2016
If monitoring, identification, and action thresholds indicate that pest control is required, and preventive methods are no longer effective or available, IPM programs evaluate the best control method in relation to effectiveness and risk. Control programmes incorporate non-chemical methods alongside, or instead of, chemical control. Use of chemical pest control should be as targeted as possible and the risk of resistance development should be minimised. The effectiveness of the control programme should be reviewed regularly to gauge success and improve their regime as necessary. Table 52 presents an overview of the pest control measures reported by the growers surveyed. Ninety six per cent of growers adopted at least one IPM pest control activity.
Almost all of the growers (96 per cent) stated that they used non-chemical control in partnership or instead of chemical control. A range of control methods were adopted, including physical control measures such as mulches (39 per cent), netting (29 per cent) and fleece (four per cent). Other methods included mechanical weeding (79 per cent), use of biologicals, traps and pheromone mating disruption ( Figure 53).
Almost half (46 per cent) of growers stated that they targeted their pesticide applications using monitoring data. Thirty six per cent used spot treatments and 21 per cent reduced their dosage or frequency of applications where possible. Other methods used to minimise pesticide use included drift reduction, weed wiping and use of precision application ( Figure 54).
In addition, almost a third of growers stated that they followed anti-resistance strategies. These included 21 per cent minimising the number of applications, 14 per cent using multiple modes of action and 11 per cent using multi-site pesticides in their spray programmes ( Figure 55).
Finally, 71 per cent of growers stated that they monitored the success of their crop protection measures. Over two thirds self-inspected control measure success and a quarter had a regular review by an agronomist. Growers also investigated poor pesticide efficiency and conducted a seasonal review of practice ( Figure 56).
Table 52: Summary of responses to pest control questions - 2016
|Pest control activity||Percentage yes response|
|Non-chemical control used in partnership or instead of chemical control||96|
|Targeted pesticide application||46|
|Follow anti-resistance strategies||32|
|Monitor success of crop protection measures||71|
|Any pest control activity||96|
Figure 53: Types of non-chemical control used (percentage of respondents) - 2016
Note: ‘other’ includes manual control of pests such as caterpillars and slugs, glue bands on trees, copper bands round beds, ash, egg shell and shale to deter slugs and use of soapy water
Figure 54: Methods of targeting pesticide applications using monitoring data (percentage of respondents) - 2016
Figure 55: Types of anti-resistance strategies (percentage of respondents) - 2016
Note: multi-site pesticides each act on different metabolic sites within the target weed, fungus or insect pest, thus increasing their effectiveness.
Figure 56: Methods for monitoring success of crop protection measures (percentage of respondents) - 2016