About the NYS IPM Elements
Integrated Pest Management (IPM) methods balance economic, environmental, and human health issues in pest management decision-making. This balance is achieved by careful consideration and implementation of all appropriate pest management options. IPM methods are developed to insure the delivery of high-quality agricultural products, maximize the effectiveness of all pest-control techniques and minimize adverse environmental effects.
Elements that describe IPM practices were developed in response to many requests for IPM definitions. Since managing pests is a dynamic process influenced by weather, markets, new knowledge, and other information, the best way to define it appears to be through a set of elements. The elements that appear as part of this document have been derived through a partnership process among agricultural producers, food processing companies, supermarkets and Cornell University research and extension staff. We expect these elements will change each year as new knowledge and new perspectives are added to the process of element determination.
Making Pest Management Decisions
To optimize pest-control decisions, growers and crop consultants who intend to practice IPM should identify and determine the extent of pests in each of their fields. Regularly scheduled field monitoring and pest record-keeping are the cornerstones of an IPM program. These records allow growers and crop consultants to choose from among many strategies for reducing pest populations to economically acceptable levels. Depending on the crop, the pest, its population in a given field, and the technology available, a grower or crop consultant can choose to reduce pest populations by using:
- Pest resistant crop varieties
- Crop rotation
- Cultural practices
- Biological controls
- Physical barriers to pest infestation, and/or
- Chemical methods
Each of the above options will reduce pest populations when applicable to a given pest. However, use of these options doesn't always maintain pest populations below economically acceptable levels or action thresholds. To determine if action thresholds for specific pests are reached, crops need to be monitored on a regular basis, usually weekly. Monitoring techniques may include scouting (visual inspection) and the use of pheromone traps, computer decision aids, and forecasting systems for specific pests. Monitoring techniques and action thresholds have been established, through research, for many major pests in New York.
To optimize pest-control decisions, growers and crop consultants must keep records of pest densities, cultural procedures, weather factors, and pesticide applications, for future consideration. Bear in mind that regular field monitoring and pest record-keeping are the cornerstones of an IPM program. In addition, the proper calibration of pesticide application equipment cannot be over-emphasized. This equipment should be calibrated a minimum of once per season.
When other methods of pest management do not maintain pest populations below action thresholds, the use of pesticides is appropriate. Today, in many crop settings, there are both synthetic and biological pesticides to choose from. Growers and crop consultants can maximize the effectiveness of pesticides and minimize negative environmental impacts by: Choosing pesticides that have the least toxicity to non-target organisms; have the smallest potential to leach chemicals into ground water; and have the lowest possible toxicity to humans, farm workers and consumers. When a pesticide is used, it must be a correct pesticide (i.e., effective against the target pest) and a registered pesticide as determined by the US Environmental Protection Agency and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. The material must also be applied at a legal rate. In addition, IPM growers strive to apply the pesticide in a manner that will result in the lowest possible product residue and least harm to the environment.
Detailed recommendations on how to follow IPM practices on a crop-by-crop basis are available in various IPM manuals and the current Cornell Pest Management Guidelines series:
Regional differences in pest populations within New York State often require special consideration and may not be indicated in the elements or manuals. The differences are usually expressed in recommended regional practices.
Implementing IPM elements
These elements should assist growers and crop consultants in implementing an IPM approach for many of the crops grown in New York.