Integrated Pest Management tips

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

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Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is an ecosystem-based strategy that focuses on long-term prevention of pests or their damage through a combination of techniques such as biological control, habitat manipulation, modification of cultural practices, and use of resistant varieties.

IPM is considered a safer approach to pest control. It uses a mix of methods to reduce crop damage by pests, and is helpful to the ecosystem and the environment. The farmer uses a greater knowledge of nature, soil, water, climate, creatures and plants to make it easy for crops to flourish, but difficult for pests.

Harmful pesticides should only be used when needed; as less use allows for the growth of better crops and a healthier environment. The improper and frequent use of pesticides may result in:

• More serious pest infestations;

• Danger to health;

• Fallout in the export market;

• Decline in farm profits;

• Polluted soil, water, air.

Cultural practices

Locally, farmers tend to:

• Plant at a place and time for early, strong crop growth and to avoid heavy pest attack.

• Prepare land early and properly, to destroy soil pests and allow proper root growth.

• Use pest-free planting material.

• Protect plants in the nursery (using screens) from insects which carry disease, eg, viruses.

• Check plants at least weekly for any problems.

• Space, prune and stake plants to reduce overcrowding and disease build-up.

• Reap on time to escape pest damage.

• Reap with care to reduce bruises and rot.

• Keep some weeds that beneficials feed on around fields.

IPM rules for pesticide use:

1) First, know what problem is affecting the crop.

2) If a pesticide is needed, use the safest one to man, beneficials and the environment that will work.

3) Read and follow the label.

4) Measure the right amount and mix properly.

5) Where possible, use poison baits instead of sprays.

6) If insects/mites/slugs are only in small sections of a field, treat only those sections.

7) If spraying, use the right sprayer and nozzle for the job.

8) Use a hollow cone for insecticides, fungicides.

9) Use a flood jet or fan jet for herbicides.

10) As much as possible, spray insecticides in the late evenings.

11) Never throw pesticides/containers in or near streams or rivers.

12) Do not reap produce before the period written on the label, that is the pre-harvest interval.

13) Lock pesticides safely away from children and other unauthorised persons.

14) Avoid direct contact with pesticides.

Important benefits of IPM:

• Healthier people

• Less crop damage

• Bigger and better harvests

• More exports

• More farm profits

• Cleaner environment

— Information submitted by the RADA Communications Department and prepared by the division of Technology Training and Technical Information RADA.

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