A new way for farmers to show that they are adopting an integrated approach to weed, pest and disease control has been launched by The Voluntary Initiative (VI).
There is a requirement under the Sustainable Use Directive for Member States to encourage the uptake of Integrated Pest Management (IPM). The European Commission defines this as economically and environmentally sustainable management of pests, weeds and diseases using cultural, chemical, physical and biological controls.
UK regulators have recognised that farmers carry out a wide range of these practices already and so have agreed that a voluntary approach to demonstrating their use of IPM is appropriate, as opposed to regulatory approaches taken by other European member states. To satisfy this requirement the NFU have developed the new IPM plan for the VI, this replaces, the original VI Crop Protection Management Plan (CPMP). Another option for farmers is to use the LEAF audit.
NFU Vice President Guy Smith said: “I’m sure some farmers will have reservations about another new form with yet another acronym to fill in. However it’s a user friendly opportunity to demonstrate and record good practice just as we used to do with our CPMPs. It is this good practice that convinces our Government that a voluntary approach is better than a regulatory one. We should be mindful some of our continental counterparts have this enforced on them through regulation.”
VI Chairman Richard Butler said: “It’s important for farmers and growers to demonstrate that they are following an integrated approach to crop protection, so I am grateful to the NFU for evolving the CPMP into the new IPM plan. It’s shorter and clearly focussed on IPM with a simple online format which makes it quicker and easier to fill in. Having had a go myself I can see it will give a lot of benefit to those that take the trouble to complete it.”
The new IPM Plan can be accessed at www.voluntaryinitiative.org.uk/ipmp