Integrated Pest Management (IPM)
Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is a program that should be based on prevention, monitoring, and control which offers the opportunity to eliminate or drastically reduce the use of pesticides, and to minimize the toxicity of and exposure to any products which are used. IPM does this by utilizing a variety of methods and techniques, including cultural, biological and structural strategies to control a multitude of pest problems.
IPM is the answer or an amicable alternative to chemical pesticides.
As per United Nation's Food' and Agriculture Organization (FAO), IPM is defined as:
"The careful consideration of all available pest control technique's and subsequent integration of appropriate measures that discourage the development of pest populations and keep pesticides and other interventions to levels that are economically justified and reduce or minimize risks to human health and the environment. 1PM emphasizes the growth of a healthy crop with the' least possible disruption to agro-ecosystems and encourages natural pest control mechanism".
Methods used under IPM
1. Acceptable pest levels: It aims on controlling and not eradicating pests: Allowing a pest population to survive at a reasonable threshold reduces selection pressure. This lowers the rate at which a pest develops resistance to a control and maintains homeostasis by maintaining the normal food web around the pest.
2. Regulatory or Legislative Control: It is mainly done through quarantine control.
3. Cultural Control: It involves crop sanitation or clean culture. Cleaning of pruning shears to prevent spread of infection is an important method. Other methods include: tillage, irrigation, use of balanced fertilizers, use of clean certified seed (removal of undesired or diseased plants and Want debris), proper crop spacing, crop rotation, intercropping, trap crops, companion cropping etc.
4. Mechanical and Physical Controls: Hand-picking, barriers, traps for insect pests, manual weed control, cultivation and temperature modifications (heat or cold), and manipulation of moisture (as in stored grains).
5. Biological Control: By using natural pest enemies like predators, parasites, parasitoids, pathogens (fungi, bacteria, viruses) and bio-pesticides.
6. Genetic Control: It involves traditional selective breeding and newer biotechnology to produce robust varieties.
Pests are virtually never eradicated. Thus record-keeping system is essential to establish trends and patterns in pest outbreaks. Further a regular evaluation program is essential to determine the success of the pest management strategies.
National Centre for Integrated Pest Management (NCIPM) of Indian Council of Agricultural Research.
(ICAR), India develop and promote IPM technologies for major crops so as to sustain higher crop yields with minimum ecological implications and develop information base on all aspects of pest management and to advise on related national priorities and pest management policies.