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Integrated farming is a type of farming that aims to maximize the efficiency and productivity of the farm by integrating different types of crops and animals into a single system.

This approach to farming is based on the principle of maximizing the use of natural resources, such as soil, water, and sunlight, to produce a diverse range of crops and animals. Integrated farming also seeks to minimize the use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, and to promote the use of sustainable farming practices. Integrated farming is seen as a way to improve the sustainability and resilience of the farming sector, and to reduce the environmental impact of agriculture.

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I wonder whether we need to think harder about pesticides. They are vital and need to be protected. Some ideas to get the ball rolling:

  1. Specific pesticide restriction. Application of restrictions on supply of particularly damaging pesticides (largely “insecticides”) would raise price and increase the incentive to assess threat before use. This would make IPM more effective. Introduction of a bidding system for the limited supply would provide control and manage the incentive to develop improved strategies over time. An auction system would also help maintain margin for developers.
  2. Extension of national risk assessments of crop threats. Sugar beet approval for neonicotinoid use is determined by a national assessment of risk. Risk of other diseases, such as management of Barley Yellow Dwarf Virus in cereals, can also be assessed regionally. Extension of these schemes should be prioritised.
  3. Introduction of refuge areas.  Where genetically modified crops are used to providing insect control, it is a requirement in the USA to include a refuge area to reduce the risk of resistance developing (reducing selection pressure on genes providing resistance). Adoption of the concept in the UK for spray treatments (either untreated crop or beneficial plant species) would reduce the risk of resistance developing and provide a refuge for benign pests and predators. 
  4. Monitoring of pesticide use. Monitoring of pesticides post introduction (“pesticideovigilance”) means that unexpected consequences for the environment (and potentially human health and development of resistance) would be identified promptly. This would also complete the alignment with the introduction of medicinal materials.

 

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Connected Content

Integrated Pest Management highlights the growth of a healthy crop with the least possible disruption to agro-ecosystems and encourages natural pest control mechanisms. IPM is one of the tools for low-pesticide-input pest management, and IPM must now be implemented by all professional agchem users.

Regenerative farming looks to optimise the use of the ecological system and environment, in order to benefit from the natural ecosystem services that they provide.

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We are establishing a network of farms to share knowledge and data on the application and impact of IPM strategies with the aim to better understand the effectiveness of IPM approaches on farm yield and profitability, and support sustainable, productive systems with no pesticide inputs wasted. We’ve had some initial funding from Defra to design the network, and now we are moving into a pilot phase.   

Using the predatory mite Typhlodromus pyri can be a successful biological control solution for these sucking pests.

"An essential guide offering practical tips and approaches for farmers to adopt as they look for better and more sustainable ways to protect their crops."

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This new, practical manual with expert guidance, outlines six simple steps to identifying, assessing, and managing ash dieback.

Healthy soils are important for the future of crop production in Europe and healthy crop rotations are a pre-requisite to maintain, improve or restore soil health. Nematodes and soil-borne pathogens are causing a threat to soil health. The decision support tools developed by the EU thematic network Best4Soil help the sustainable control of these threats.

Docks are perennial weeds that compete with forages of nutritional importance for livestock production.

Several diseases affect oilseed rape. However, it is possible to suppress the risk of economic damage by combining non-chemical and chemical approaches.

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is a holistic whole-farm approach to help mitigate the likelihood of pest, weed and disease pressure in a farming system. (Agricology)

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