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IPM Programs: Best of the Pest Prevention Measures

In an ideal world, no grower would use chemical pesticides. IPM, or “Integrated Pest Management” is a multi-faceted system that is striving to create that world. IPM’s goal is to reduce overall chemical pesticide use while effectively controlling the pest. 

What are the steps in an IPM Program? 

1. Determining action thresholds 

We see signs of pest infestation before it gets out of control. IPM starts by creating a framework for the operation to follow up on, when those signs appear. This framework involves identifying, monitoring, and establishing threshold values. When the threshold values are reached, an action plan gets triggered. These “action thresholds” are determined through a comparison of the potential loss from the pest to the cost of action.

Do we intervene in every sign of pest formation? 

Crops can generally handle small amounts of pest pressure without loss in yield. Therefore, intervening in every sign of pest formation would cost more in labor and resources than it would potentially save in yield value. In addition to economic issues, environmental issues will likely arise in the operation where a premature intervention took place. There is a point, however, when the pest pressure creates losses in yield that requires action. Naturally, it becomes important to determine the threshold values for your field and crops. This way, you know when the right action time is, without wasting unnecessary amounts of resources and losing large amounts of yields throughout the season. 

Managing pest count data across large acreage for differing threshold values requires significant field and data management. When data is managed correctly, the correct action will be taken in the correct areas. 

2. Creating action plans

 After determining the action thresholds, the next step is to create an action plan to implement when those thresholds are exceeded. These action plans are based on the farm’s context and available resources to the grower. 

However, the first step of any IPM action plan is focused on prevention, rather than the action itself. The key aspect of prevention is often overlooked as a primary method of pest prevention: Nutrient management. 

Plant Sap Analysis for Better Nutrient Management 

We know that healthy plants have better defense mechanisms against pests than unhealthy plants. So what exactly is the standard for “health enough to prevent pest infestation”? New data has been showing that plant sap analysis provides indicators of how optimized nutrient uptake is in an operation, therefore, how healthy a plant is. 

A Few Facts to End On 

  • The closer the plant sap levels are to optimum, the better the crop’s natural defense capabilities are. This means that during the season, we can make decisions on nutrient management changes rather than resort to chemical pesticide applications.

  • We can also predict potential chinks in our armor if we spot major plant sap imbalances before the pests arrive. 

  • Implementing these new strategies are cost, time and labor effective, but they require pristine data management. 

Here at SoilBeat, we manage all data taken from any soil and/or plant testing, and point out trends and correlations. With a farm data management system that can also interpret plant sap data like SoilBeat, you can see pest related issues arising before they get out of hand. 


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