Regulation (EC) No. 1107/2009 applies in every EU country and requires pesticide users to ensure that plant protection products are applied ‘properly’. Proper use includes those applying pesticides in a professional capacity to follow the principles of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) set out in The Sustainable Use (of Pesticides) Directive 2009/128/EC.
What is Integrated Pest Management?
The Directive defines IPM as the careful consideration of all available plant protection methods and integration of appropriate measures to discourage the development of populations of harmful organisms. It aims to keep the use of all forms of control to levels that are economically and ecologically justified, and reduce or minimise risks to human health and the environment. IPM emphasises the growth of a healthy crop with the least possible disruption to agro-ecosystems and encourages natural pest control.
What are the general principles of IPM?
The general principles include:
• preventing or suppressing the development of populations of harmful organisms (for example, through; crop rotation; the use of cultivation techniques, resistant varieties, balanced fertilisation, irrigation/drainage practice and hygiene measures; and protecting and enhancing beneficial organisms);
• using forecasting and monitoring systems to assess pest pressures and using thresholds (where available) to decide whether and when to apply controls;
• giving preference to non-chemical methods if they provide a satisfactory method of control;
• using pesticides which pose least risk to human health and the environment;
• keeping use of all methods of control to levels that are necessary (in the case of pesticides this may involve reducing dose rates), while being mindful of the need to avoid the development of resistance and adopt anti-resistance strategies;
• assessing the effectiveness of controls.
What should you do to comply with the IPM requirements?
IPM Plans (IPMP) can help you to adopt an integrated approach. They can also help farmers to demonstrate due diligence in meeting the obligation to take all reasonable precautions to protect human health and the environment when using pesticides. An IPMP can help to demonstrate that risks have been carefully assessed and that as part of the control regime different ways of controlling pests, weeds and diseases have been considered. The plan may also be useful evidence for farm assurance schemes and cross compliance inspections.
Where can you obtain an IPMP?
The NFU and Voluntary Initiative (VI) have developed an IPMP that can be used by farmers to demonstrate compliance with the IPM requirements. This is a free tool and once completed, a copy of the plan will be emailed to you. The plan can then be printed and retained with other farm records.
It is important to review the plan regularly, with a thorough annual review. If you have a BASIS registered adviser, they may be able to assist with completing and reviewing the IPMP.