Integrated Pest Management, or IPM, is a widely practiced approach to pest control that employs a wide range of tools as biological, physical, horticultural, genetic methods as well as chemical applications in a way that minimizes negative economic and health impact and reduces detrimental environmental effect.
IPM is recognized as the preferred strategy for pest control and serves as most countries’ official interface for food production.
At the same time, however, this requires a comprehensive view which is often lacking. In many cases, only one of the available technologies is used- mostly pesticides, and mostly synthetic ones, as bio-pesticides are used infrequently. Use of pests’ natural enemies or pest-resistant crops is rare. In most cases, pest control systems are geared towards combating a particular pest, while ignoring the agro-ecosystem as a whole.
The principles of Integrated Pest Management we seek to apply at the Model Farm:
• A comprehensive view of all pests threatening all crops
• A comprehensive view of all crops in the area
• Addressing the agro-ecosystem in its entirety
• Considering seasonal and year-round crop profitability
• Addressing all agricultural activities performed on all crops
The means we plan to employ include: pest and beneficial monitoring, pest-prevention measures, pest-resistant verities, and only when needed ecologically friendly means of controlling pest populations. Pesticides will be a last-resort line of treatment, and we will use the least toxic pesticides as much as possible.
An Antlion (a beneficial insect that function of a natural enemy of many pest species) on a sunflower// Photograph by Ronen Kfir