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A More Ecological Approach to Controlling Pests: New Centre Launched

22 December 2011

UK - The European Centre for Integrated Pest Management builds on the long history of research and development in integrated pest management for agriculture at the Medway-based Natural Resources Institute.

This work has been carried out in developing countries but also in the UK and the rest of Europe, where the EUCIPM is expanding its activity.

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is an ecological approach to pest control which aims to minimise the use of pesticides, while maintaining the profitability of farming enterprises. Controlling pests such as codling moth in Kent orchards with IPM involves combining knowledge of pest biology and lifecycles with crop monitoring and other measures.

These interventions can help farmers to determine the best time to use measures such as pheromones and microbial agents and to maximise the impact of naturally occurring enemies of pests. Other problem pests, diseases and weeds which effect crops in Europe and are becoming difficult to control with chemical pesticides, are the pollen beetle on oilseed rape, and potato blight, together with Septoria leaf blotch and black grass which both damage cereal crops.

The European Commission aims to decrease pesticide use in European farming mostly through developing and promoting IPM. EC Directives on pesticide use have already resulted in the loss of some important crop protection products. Further reviews could result in the removal of many more pesticides commonly used in UK and EU farming.

Dr Rory Hillocks is leading on the development of the European Centre for Integrated Pest Management together with Jerry Cooper at the Natural Resources Institute. He says: “Farmers will have to produce more food profitably using fewer pesticides. NRI offers a wealth of knowledge and expertise to help the British and European farming and horticultural industries meet these challenges. The aim is to provide safe and healthy food, sustain biodiversity, protect the environment and decrease agriculture’s carbon footprint.”

TheCropSite News Desk

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