Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is a holistic approach used to manage pests in crop production: it considers the whole crop system and is based on a broad range of agronomic, monitoring, physical and biological techniques. It is a suitable pest management system not just in light of the Farm to Fork targets, but as pesticide withdrawals increase and the knock-on effect of reducing chemical diversity often results in resistance.
Teagasc has recently launched the survey (linked below) on IPM in Irish food horticulture, including potatoes. Organic and conventional growers are encouraged to respond. The survey is part of a wider research project that aims to establish the type and extent of current IPM strategies being used in Irish crop production. The project will examine the impact of pest management practices on the economic and environmental sustainability of Irish horticulture. It comes at a crucial time for growers, given the ambitious target of a 50% reduction in chemical use by 2030 included in the Farm to Fork Strategy and ambitious targets related to crop diversification in the national Climate Action Plan 2023.
Researchers conducting the project are asking for growers across the sector to have their say now. Teagasc PhD student working on the project, Jennifer Byrne said: “We are trying to identify the technical IPM practices that Irish fresh produce growers are implementing at this time, as well as the general perception around IPM. Establishing the perceived limitations and drivers of IPM for our growers will enable us to better understand the needs of the sector in terms of increasing IPM uptake.” The 4-year project, entitled AgSustain, is modelled on an earlier Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine funded Teagasc project, EPIC, which investigated IPM practice in Irish arable crops. All responses to the survey are completely confidential and any data processing will be anonymous.
Growers are asked to make their anonymous submissions to the survey now. Jennifer Byrne said: “This is a unique opportunity for the sector, organic and conventional alike, to have their say on a critical element of their business management. We need grower input to be able to represent the perspective of the sector accurately and fully.”
The survey can be accessed at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/IPMinIrishhorticulturesurvey or by scanning the QR code below.