|9. Integrated plant protection (IPM)
The Principles of Integrated Plant Protection have to be applied. Preventive (indirect) measures and observations in the field on pest, disease and weed status must have been considered before intervention with direct plant protection measures takes place
9.1 Prevention (= indirect plant protection)
The prevention and/or suppression of key pests, diseases and weeds can be achieved or supported among other options especially by the:
- Choice of appropriate resistant/tolerant cultivars.
- Use of an optimal replanting interval or similar strategy to prevent diseases and weakness.
- Use of adequate cultivation techniques, (e.g. green cover, pruning, removal of infected prunings, alternate mowing); pruning not only removes dead tissues but also allows proper ventilation and more effective spray coverage.
- Use of balanced fertilisation (especially low nitrogen input) and irrigation practices.
- Protection and enhancement of important natural enemies by adequate plant protection measures.
- Utilisation of ecological infrastructures inside and outside production sites to enhance a supportive conservation biological control of key pests by antagonists.
IP guidelines must (see 8.1.3.c) describe a basic selection of preventive measures that have to be implemented.
The prevention and/or suppression of key pests and diseases must be supported by:
The prevention and/or suppression of key pests and diseases should be supported among other options especially by:
- Hygiene, proper disinfection or cleaning of buildings, clothes, hands, tools, booms, tanks, sprayers and machines is recommended.
- Preventing the carryover of organisms which transmit a phytohygenic damage potential, when spread.
Examples: Weeds like Cyperus esculentus or Rorippa palustris, nematodes like Globodera rostochiensis, fungi like Plasmodiophora brassicae with machines.
The prevention and/or suppression of key pests and diseases should be supported by:
- Corky root: Steam treatment, resistant rootstock, black fallow, soilless culture
- Meloidogyne spp.: Steam treatment, resistant rootstock, black fallow, soil-less culture
- Clavibacter, PepMV: Hygiene very important
9.2 Risk assessment and monitoring
Interventions to control pests, diseases and weeds must be based on adequate monitoring methods and tools to determine whether and when to apply direct control measures.
Robust and scientifically sound warning, forecasting and early detection/diagnosis systems (decision support systems) as well as sound threshold values are essential components for decision making.
The official forecasts of pest and/or disease risks, or officially established threshold levels defined for the region must be taken into account before treatments.
Empirical threshold values should be replaced by more scientifically sound approaches, like DSS, and expert systems.
Existing and validated forecasting models for pests and diseases should be used and the use of adequate monitoring devices by groups of growers recommended.
Cutworms: Populations should be monitored (e.g. sex pheromone traps and visual inspection) and forecasting models should be taken into account.
Other lepidopterans (and Colorado potato beetle): Monitoring for eggs and first larval stages.
Tomato leaf miner Tuta absoluta: Monitoring and use thresholds when available.
Leaf miner, white flies: Monitoring with yellow sticky traps.
Frankliniella occidentalis as vector of TSWV: Monitoring with blue sticky traps.
Monitoring: Powdery mildew – Oidium and Leveillulaby regular crop inspection.
9.3 Direct plant protection method
Where indirect plant protection measures are not sufficient to prevent a problem and forecasts and threshold values indicate a need to intervene with direct plant protection measures, priority must be given to:
- Those measures which have the minimum impact on human health, non-target organisms and the environment.
- Biological, biotechnical* and physical methods must be preferred above chemical methods if they provide satisfactory control.
*: Biotechnical control methods are defined in applied entomology as highly specific procedures that influence the behavior or development of pests without direct biocidal activity, such as mating disruption, deterrents, sterile insect technique.
Wherever a control measure is deemed necessary, a biological or biotechnical control method must be used if available and effective.
Priority must be given to mechanical weed control.
Pre-emergence herbicides are only permitted as band applications.
Weed management should be achieved, as far as possible, by non-chemical methods.
Aphids: Use of biological control is recommended e.g. natural enemies, banker plants.
Spider mites: Biological control recommended. Phytoseiulus macropolis might be an option for the future.
Leptinotarsa: Selective methods (e.g. B. thuringiensis tenebrionis or IGRs) should be preferred.
White flies and leaf-miners: Biological control is recommended.
Thrips: Biological control is recommended.
Meloidogyne spp: Biological nematicide.
False/stale bed technique is recommended.
9.3.1 Restrictive use of pesticides
IP guidelines must (see 8.1.3.d) classify pesticides (to be used for the key pests, diseases and weeds) in three categories: 'permitted' (green list), 'permitted with restrictions' (yellow list) and 'not permitted' (red list) based upon±
- Their toxicity to man
- Their toxicity to key natural enemies
- Their toxicity to other non-target organisms
- Their pollution potential for the environment (soil, water, air)
- Their ability to stimulate pests and diseases
- Their selectivity
- Their persistence
- Their potential to develop resistance in target
- Incomplete or missing information
- The necessity of use.
Regularly updated data on the eco-toxicological profiles of pesticides are compiled by IOBC cf. toolbox).
All agrochemicals used must fulfil the basic requirements of GAP.
- The plant protection product applied must be officially approved for the target, as indicated on the product label, or for officially approved off-label uses.
- In countries that have no official registration schemes yet, reference is made to the FAO Code of Conduct on the Distribution and Use of Pesticides.
- All pesticide applications must comply with the statutory conditions regarding the specific crop, maximum permitted total dose, maximum number of treatments, spray intervals and pre-harvest interval, as indicated on the product label or authorised off-label uses.
- Since label doses are maximum doses approved by the registration authorities, reduced dosages are possible, (especially in herbicides).
Chemical soil disinfection is not allowed.
The use of reduced dosages is recommended wherever possible in accordance with national documentation, experience and legislation.
In Europe EPPO standards are also used as references.
Adoption of anti-resistance strategies for the at-risk pesticides is strongly recommended.
9.3.2 Resistance management
Where the risk of resistance against a plant protection measure is known and where the level of pests, diseases or weeds requires repeated application of plant protection products in the crops, IP guidelines and IRAC / HRAC/ FRAC** have to provide clear recommendations or mandatory requests for an anti-resistance strategy to maintain the effectiveness of the products.
- IRAC = Insecticide resistance action committee
- HRAC = Herbicide resistance action committee
- FRAC = fungicide resistance action committee
9.4 Lists to be compiled as part of IP guidelines
IP guidelines must establish for each crop:
- A restrictive list of key pests, diseases and weeds that are economically important and require regular control measures in the region / crop concerned.
- A list of the most important known site-specific natural antagonist(s), with information on their importance in each crop. The protection and augmentation of at least 2 antagonists must be mentioned in advanced as a desirable objective sustainable production systems.
- A list of preventive and highly selective direct control measures to be used in the IP program (“green list”). See explanations and examples in the IOBC-WPRS Tool Box.
- A list of pesticides to be used with restrictions (“yellow list”): A selected group of plant protection products that do not qualify for the “green list” but should be available to the grower despite certain negative aspects, (especially for reasons of resistance management or earmarked for exceptionally difficult cases). These listed products are permitted only for precisely identified uses with clearly defined restrictions.
9.5 Application and recording of pesticides
All pesticide applications must be registered with name, date, crop-pest / crop- disease combination, dosage and field identification where applied.
Buffer zones of adequate size between treated crop areas and sensitive off-crop areas, (surface water, springs, ecological infrastructures), must be observed, (see point 2.6).
The official pre-harvest intervals to minimise pesticide residues must be followed and should, if possible, be extended. They must be recorded for all applications of crop protection product and evidence should be provided that they have been observed. In situations with continuous harvesting, systems must be in place in the field to ensure that safety rules are sufficiently followed (e.g. warning signals).
Spraying during windy weather conditions when wind velocity is exceeding 5m/sec, is not allowed.
It is strongly recommended that the application of pesticides is limited to the smallest possible area (e.g. band spraying, spot treatments, field and site specific localized treatment).
The use of best application techniques available to minimize drift and loss is highly recommended.
Small untreated areas, (zero treatment or "spray windows"), should be maintained in each crop and in each major plot/field except for arthropod pests, diseases and weeds declared as "highly dangerous/ contagious" by national authorities or in cases with high infectious pests or diseases.
Perennial crops: The use of methods to calculate the right dose of pesticides and spray volume to be applied as a function of the plant growth stage and canopy architecture - such as for instance the TRV (Tree Row Volume) or the LWA (Leaf Wall Area) methods – is highly recommended. Always explore this keeping in mind the specific properties of each pesticide-active ingredient.
9.6 Efficient and safe storage and handling of pesticides
The basic requirements of Good Agricultural Practice (GAP) with respect to storage (9.6.1), safe handling application and training (9.6.2) and disposal of surplus mix, obsolete pesticides and empty containers (9.6.3), must be fulfilled and outlined in IP guidelines.
Pesticides must be stored in accordance to legal regulations, in a locked room and separated from other materials. Keys and access to the pesticide store must be limited to workers with formal training in the handling of pesticides. Pesticides must only be stored in their original package.
9.6.2 Safe handling, application and training
There must be adequate facilities for measuring, mixing and filling the products.
Adequate emergency facilities, such as running water, eyewash facilities, first aid box and emergency procedures, must be provided to deal with potential operator contamination.
Operators must have appropriate protective clothing and equipment for all operations involving chemicals.
All sprayer operators must have appropriate training and hold, where relevant, the appropriate certificate of competence.
9.6.3 Disposal of surplus mix, obsolete pesticides and empty containers
Surplus mix or tank washings must either be sprayed onto a designated untreated part of the crop or disposed of by a registered waste contractor or applied in a biodegradation unit.
The safe disposal of spare pesticides must be planned and recorded. They must only be disposed of through an approved chemical waste contractor. Empty pesticide containers must be rinsed with water three times and the rinse water returned to the spray tank. Empty containers must not be re-used but should be crushed or perforated to prevent re-use.
Under normal circumstances surplus spray mix should not occur. However, if surplus should occur, disposal must comply with local regulations. Applications onto designated fallow land should demonstrate that this is legal practice and that there is no risk of surface water contamination.
9.7 Spraying equipment (pesticides) and technique
The basic requirements of Good Agricultural Practice (GAP) with respect to the operation and maintenance of spray equipment must be fulfilled and outlined in IP guidelines.
The equipment must be kept in a good state of repair. Adequate functioning of the equipment must be verified before each treatment. A thorough technical service of the equipment, (especially manometers and nozzles), should follow the national rules and obligations.
Equipment must be verified every 4 year (3 years from 2021) or according to the national guidelines by a competent organisation for correct operation and calibration.
The use of aircraft and helicopters is forbidden, except for situations where access to the plot is impossible because of exceptional weather conditions, or if plot topography allows no other way of spraying.
Radial flow air assisted sprayers traditionally used for tree and bush fruit spraying are often inefficient and generate high levels of spray drift. Wherever possible spraying equipment and spraying conditions minimising the health risk of the operator and drift must be preferred and tractors must be fitted with a cab.
The spray impact on the environment can be minimised by the proper calculation of the amount of product needed per ha.
The use of drift reduction techniques with the least drift and pesticide loss should be encouraged whilst maintaining efficacy.
9.8 Pesticide residues
Legal requirements of pesticide residues must be fulfilled.