As long as agriculture has existed, farmers have looked for ways to combat damaging pests in balanced ways that support them to produce high-quality crops and take good care of the land. Today, these kinds of balance-focused practices fall under the term Integrated Pest Management, or IPM, a science-based decision-making process for pest control. IPM strategies minimize environmental impact of pest control practices and maximize the opportunity for farmers to improve economic return on their crops. IPM—which involves five main steps—helps farmers make effective choices for pest control that work for their operations. While pesticides may or may not be part of an IPM program, crop protection active ingredients with a favorable environmental profile, like Qalcova™ active and Jemvelva™ active, give farmers more options.
IPM step 1: Identifying pest threats
Before farmers can develop solutions to address pests, they need to understand the pests they are up against. This involves properly diagnosing the pests that are present—whether insect, nematode, disease or weed—and learning more about how they operate. This includes learning more about the pest’s life cycle and at what stage it is most likely to cause damage.1
IPM step 2: Monitoring and measuring against thresholds
An important part of IPM is looking at thresholds, or the level at which the pest causes economic damage to the farm. In an IPM strategy, thresholds fall into three categories: damage boundary, economic injury level and economic threshold.2 Thresholds are changing targets that can vary depending on multiple factors, like farm operations, consumer demands and commodity prices.
IPM step 3: Decision making
Armed with the right data, farmers can then make decisions based on their pest situation. In an IPM framework, farmers may use any of the interventions below, alone or in combination, depending on the needs of the farm.
Taking no action: If the pest problem is not causing significant damage to the crop or the farmer’s business, no intervention is required.
Cultural practices: Cultural practices address pest control at the plant or soil level. Tactics can include changing tillage practices, rotating crops and pruning vegetation that harbors pests.3
Mechanical methods: These are physical actions that remove pests or keep them from infiltrating crops, and can include installing screens and traps, mulching and weeding.3
Biological controls: Biological controls refer to the use of living organisms, or products derived from living materials, to treat pests. This can include practices like releasing beneficial insects into a field to prey on pests or applying certain biological products.
Pesticides: In IPM, pesticides are only used when they are absolutely necessary, applied in the amount and location where they’re most needed. Advances in pesticide products are giving farmers more and better choices when pesticides are the right solution for their fields. Qalcova™ and Jemvelva™ actives have a number of characteristics that make them an excellent fit with an IPM approach, including:
IPM step 4: Record keeping and follow-up
With long-term data, farmers can better distinguish single-season anomalies from pest-pressure trends. They can also see how their selected interventions work over time to inform smarter decisions year after year.
Pest pressures are always changing, but IPM gives farmers a scientific framework to make decisions about when and how to use pest control products. Active ingredients Qalcova and Jemvelva that are highly effective and have a favorable environmental profile give farmers even more strategic options to design the right IPM approach for their farms.
1 “Strategies,” Texas IPM Program (Texas A&M AgriLife Extension), accessed May 16, 2022, https://ipm.tamu.edu/about/strategies/.
2 Larry P. Pedigo, Marlin E. Rice, and Rayda K. Krell, Entomology and Pest Management, 7th ed. (Waveland Press, Inc., 2021).
3 “Integrated Pest Management.” Province of British Columbia. Ministry of Agriculture and Seafood, January 15, 2016.