Dept sets the record on new IPM rules

Record keeping is one of the key impacts farmers will notice from new integrated pest management (IPM) rules, with sustainable use of pesticides now compulsory.

This is according to Gordon Rennick of the Department of Agriculture, who spoke on the issue at a recent Teagasc vegetable seminar.

He outlined that records proving implementation of IPM must be maintained by all farmers and growers. “For example, if using Plant Protection Products (PPPs), the reason for using the PPP should be recorded in the user’s pesticide application record sheet,” he outlined in his presentation.

Rennick explained a ‘tick box’ worksheet has been designed to enable farmers and growers to demonstrate how they are adopting the general principles of IPM. “There are no exemptions from the requirement to maintain these records,” he added.

The new legislation also says if records are not provided to prove implementation of the general principle of IPM, a percentage dis-allowance of an individual’s single farm payment will ensue, with a possibility of prosecution.

In situations where the farmer or grower is not a recipient of single farm payment, the Agriculture Department may issue fixed-penalty notices or seek to prosecute them through the legal system, he added.

In his presentation Rennick said as defined in the new pesticides directive, IPM means careful consideration of all available plant protection methods and subsequent integration of appropriate measures that discourage the development of populations of harmful organisms and keep the use of plant protection products and other forms of intervention to levels that are economically and ecologically justified and reduce or minimise risks to human health and the environment.

IPM emphasises the growth of a healthy crop with the least possible disruption to agro-ecosystems and encourages natural pest control mechanisms, he outlined.

Simply put, the department official said: “IPM is a sustainable approach to managing pests by combining biological, cultural, physical and chemical tools in a way that minimises economic, health, and environmental risks.”

According to Rennick, the general principles of IPM are designed to help end users of PPPs to reduce reliance on PPP use and to reduce the risks associated.

The new directive has a number of other key elements, such as training and certification of advisors, distributors, users between now and November 2015, the inspection and certification of application equipment every five years and the first inspection must be by November 2016. In addition the aerial applications of pesticides is now prohibited.

The directive also sets out restrictions to protect key areas including aquatic areas, sensitive areas and schools.

Click below for IPM information

IPM Principles

1. This is the prevention and/or suppression of harmful organisms should be achieved or supported among other options especially by: crop rotation, use of adequate cultivation techniques, use where appropriate, of resistant/tolerant cultivars and standard/certified seed and planting material, use of balanced fertilisation, liming and irrigation/drainage practices, preventing the spreading of harmful organisms by hygiene measures, protection and enhancement of important beneficial organisms, e.g. by adequate plant protection measures or the utilisation of ecological infrastructures inside and outside production sites.

2. Harmful organisms must be monitored by adequate methods and tools, where available. Such adequate tools should include observations in the field as well as scientifically sound warning, forecasting and early diagnosis systems, where feasible, as well as the use of advice from professionally qualified advisors.

3. Based on the results of the monitoring the professional user has to decide whether and when to apply plant protection measures. Robust and scientifically sound threshold values are essential components for decision making. For harmful organisms threshold levels defined for the region, specific areas, crops and particular climatic conditions must be taken into account before treatments, where feasible.

4. Sustainable biological, physical and other non-chemical methods must be preferred to chemical methods if they provide satisfactory pest control.

5. The pesticides applied shall be as specific as possible for the target and shall have the least side effects on human health, non-target organisms and the environment.

6. The professional user should keep the use of pesticides and other forms of intervention to levels that are necessary, e.g. by reduced doses, reduced application frequency or partial applications, considering that the level of risk in vegetation is acceptable and they do not increase the risk for development of resistance in populations of harmful organisms.

7. Where the risk of resistance against a plant protection measure is known and where the level of harmful organisms requires repeated application of pesticides to the crops, available anti-resistance strategies should be applied to maintain the effectiveness of the products. This may include the use of multiple pesticides with different modes of action.

8. Based on the records on the use of pesticides and on the monitoring of harmful organisms the professional user should check the success of the applied plant protection measures.

Buffer zone restrictions

Safeguard zones (water abstraction points 1-500 people) 5-200m

Buffer zones product specific (Aquatic/NTA) 5-20m

Ground Water Vulnerable Area, (Karst Area Sink hole etc.) 15m