A new IPM Planning Tool for Scottish growers
Integrated pest management (IPM) is a holistic approach to managing harmful organisms which maximizes profitability and minimises negative impacts on the environment. IPM aims to reduce reliance on pesticides and promoting IPM is identified as a key action in support of a National Action Plan. To promote IPM practices and improve on-farm uptake, it is essential to understand current uptake levels and better understand what motivates farmers to further adopt IPM. A new integrated pest management planning tool for Scottish growers has been launched, replacing a previous IPM plan. The new plan uses stakeholder derived metrics to value how important different interventions, such as rotations or varieties, are in achieving sustainable reductions in invertebrate pest, weed and disease risk. This allows for the comparison of different IPM approaches and lets individuals score and baseline their farms out of a maximum score of 100, against which changes can be judged. Going forward, it will also allow improvements to be tracked at a regional and national levels. The current tool covers arable crops, with grass and potatoes in development. In developing the tool, factors associated with good practices have been identified and barriers to IPM have been explored and this has opened-up opportunities for the further adoption of IPM practices and will help tailor knowledge exchange activities to the methods with most impact. The new plan has been adopted by Quality Assurance schemes and by the Scottish and English Voluntary Initiatives.