The widespread use of chemical plant protection products has led to the impression that it is easy to control organisms harmful to plants and protect crops. However, the overuse of pesticides, often unnecessary, creates many problems, including:
The need to look for solutions that would provide sufficient crop protection against organisms harmful to plants, and ensure the profitability of agricultural production, while limiting the negative effects described above, has resulted in the development of principles of integrated pest management.
According to the definition, integrated pest management means careful consideration of all available plant protection methods (non-chemical in particular) 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 utilizes all available information about organisms harmful to plants (in particular about their biology and harmfulness) in order to determine the optimal dates for pest control, and also uses the natural occurrence of beneficial organisms, such as predators and parasites of organisms harmful to plants, and their introduction. Thus, integrated pest management reduces the use of chemical plant protection products and pressure on the natural environment, and protects the biodiversity of agricultural ecosystems.
Important tools used in integrated pest management include:
The obligation for all professional users of pesticides to apply the general principles of integrated pest management from 1 January 2014 results from the provisions of Article 14 of Directive 2009/128/EC and Regulation no. 1107/2009. Pursuant to Article 55 of Regulation no. 1107/2009/EC plant protection products shall be used properly. Proper use shall include compliance with the provisions of Directive 2009/128/EC and with general principles of integrated pest management, as referred to in Article 14 of and Annex III to that Directive, which shall apply at the latest by 1 January 2014. According to the general principles of integrated pest management referred to in Annex III to Directive 2009/128/EC:
1) sustainable biological, physical and other non-chemical methods must be preferred to chemical methods if they provide satisfactory pest control;
2) the prevention and/or suppression of harmful organisms should be achieved, among other options, especially by:
a) crop rotation,
b) use of adequate cultivation techniques,
c) use of resistant/tolerant cultivars and standard/certified seed and planting material,
d) use of balanced fertilisation, liming and irrigation/drainage practices,
e) preventing the introduction of harmful organisms,
f) protection and enhancement of important beneficial organisms,
g) use of phytosanitary measures (e.g. regular cleansing of machinery and equipment) to prevent the spread of harmful organisms,
h) use of pesticides in levels that do not increase the risk of the development of resistance in populations of harmful organisms.
Based on the results of monitoring, the professional user has to decide whether and when to apply plant protection measures. Threshold values of economic injury should be considered when making such decisions. The pesticides applied shall be as specific as possible for the target organisms. In addition, professional users should keep the use of pesticides to levels that are necessary, e.g. by reduced doses or reduced application frequency.
The compliance of professional users of pesticides with the general principles of integrated pest management is regulated in Poland by the Act of 8 March 2013 on plant protection products (Journal of Laws, item 455 as amended) and Regulation of the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development of 18 April 2013 on the requirements of integrated pest management (Journal of Laws, item 505).
Practical implementation of these regulations is presented in the section on methods of integrated pest management. These are optional materials for professional users of plant protection products. Methods are prepared in two versions: simplified (for farmers) and more detailed (for advisors).
In addition to methods of integrated pest management, we also present Methods for monitoring and alerting for the occurrence of plant pests and Programmes for the use of plant protection products.
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