All certification standards, including MPS-ABC, that are benchmarked against the relatively new FSI Environmental Basket require an IPM plan (Integrated Pest Management or Integrated Crop Protection) to be prepared. The aim of IPM is to establish a sustainable approach to crop protection. Among other things, this requires growers to minimise the use of chemical crop protection agents except where their use is unavoidable. At MPS we are regularly asked whether there is a standard approach for creating this plan. However, every company is unique and every situation is different. Creating an IPM plan helps growers think about their own IPM strategy in a structured manner.
One tool that can help is the IPM Tool developed by Glastuinbouw Nederland, which provides information and ideas for growers on how to control pests and diseases. The tool provides useful explanations on the various steps, practical information with links to relevant websites, documents, videos and image material on IPM.
In addition, MPS has produced a set of guidelines with which the IPM plan must comply (based on the integrated pest management requirements). We also discuss with growers how we can provide even more assistance to eliminate ambiguities and offer a framework for an IPM plan in the short term.
An IPM plan covers at least the following elements:
- A description of the pests (including insects, diseases and weeds) of economic relevance to each crop or crop group.
- For each pest, illustrations should be provided to aid identification of the pests, including symptoms in crops affected, conditions under which the pest can spread rapidly and the economic threshold for taking measures. You can take your own photographs, but you can also refer to tools, labels or posters you use provided these can be shown at the audit.
- Description of possible and implemented preventive measures.
- Description of pest monitoring methods and records of checks carried out.
- Control measures taken, including reasons.
- Description of measures to reduce the development of resistance.