Record your IPM plan – Spring 2020 edition
Records show growers are complying with their legal obligations and are completing an Integrated Pest Management plan. But the Voluntary Initiative (VI) believes plans are not being regularly updated, losing the industry vital ammunition in the fight to save pesticides.
Since 2014 it’s been a legal requirement to complete and record an Integrated Pest Management plan and the good news is records show 16,820 farmers, farming 4.4 million hectares, are complying with the rules.
There is now concern, however, that while many people make changes to their plans, sometimes on a day-by-day basis, these are not necessarily being recorded.
“The trouble is, unless any day-to-day changes to the decisions in the plan and consequent actions are recorded, only the person making the decisions knows about them,” says Neal Evans, Operations Director of the Voluntary Initiative.
Big changes on way
There are big changes on the way and the farming industry’s representatives must have written proof that it can use to protect itself from onerous restrictions.
As part of the Sustainable Use Directive (SUD), government set up a ‘National Action Plan’ as a ‘framework for community action to achieve the sustainable use of pesticides.’ This is currently being reviewed. At the same time there is the proposed Environmental Land Management Schemes (ELMS), which will introduce a fundamental move away from traditional farming, towards a system that pays public money primarily for delivering environmental benefits.
Note any changes
The VI and other industry bodies urge all farmers to start making notes of these decisions and then recording them on the IPM plan. “Practically speaking, however, I appreciate this is not an easy or convenient thing to do. Perhaps we need to also look at Apps and changes to existing farm management software that if not automated, make it simpler to record IPM decisions and changes.
“Also a lot of decisions are made by agronomists. Make sure these are part of the IMP plan records,” he adds.
An IPM plan shows clearly how businesses are following sustainable farming, but there’s still more that can be done. This is why the VI has recruited a team of ‘Champions’ to move on the VI message from safe stewardship and best practice to also now integrated pest and crop management to drive change across the industry.
“VI IPM Champions include farmers, advisors and catchment officers who will be delivering IMP-focused presentations and messages to help drive forward the commitment to environmentally sustainable farming,” says Neal.
Find out more about VI Champions and why they are passionate about promoting IPM HERE
Pic or link: EIO-IPM-Vichamps