New pest management IPM tool launched

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With Integrated Pest Management (IPM) planning now a paid action under the Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI), a free IPM Planning Tool has been developed by ADAS, NFU, SRUC and Voluntary Initiative (VI) to help farmers create crop specific IPM management plans.

Built to complement VI’s existing IPM Plan, the new tool covers all the main arable and outdoor horticultural crops. It offers easy access to information about methods available for controlling relevant pests, weeds, and diseases. The methods recommended by the tool have previously been tested and proven to be effective, with research reviews undertaken by experts from ADAS and SRUC.

Project lead and ADAS Technical Director for Crop Protection, Dr Neil Paveley said: “Thousands of farmers have created plans for Red Tractor using the VI IPM Plan, and we have worked closely with the NFU and VI to provide this alternative, more crop specific, IPM Planning Tool. With farmers now actively encouraged to implement IPM, this tool gives those who are completely new to it practical support to get started. And, for the majority of farmers who are already practicing IPM to some degree, the tool could open doors to alternative techniques that may be more effective or suit their farm better”.

Prior to launch, extensive development and testing of the IPM Planning Tool was conducted with over a hundred farmers and agronomists as part of a Defra Test and Trial led by the NFU. Creating an IPM plan through the tool typically takes an hour. For agronomists, the tool allows IPM plans to be completed for multiple farms that can be easily updated each year.

Although the IPM Planning Tool was created to support growers applying for the IPM SFI action, it can also be used to support Red Tractor requirements.

Neil added: “The IPM Tool is based on many years of research and practical experience, and there is a huge amount of information available if growers want to go deeper into a topic, with links to guidance provided by AHDB, PGRO, BBRO and other independent organisations.”

Phil Jarvis, Chair of the Voluntary Initiative agreed adding; “IPM is an ever-evolving management process. Providing tools and knowledge allows growers to make informed and important farming decisions. This tool compliments existing entry points, such as the VI/NFU IPM Plan, and assists farmers on the IPM journey”.

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