Integrated pest management (IPM) will play an ‘increasing role’ in UK crop production post-Brexit and agronomists are leading the way in its implementation on farm.
Speaking at the recent Association of Independent Crop Consultants (AICC) near Towcester, NFU president Minette Batters warned delegates that 42% of farm businesses will be loss making if direct payments are lost after the UK leaves the EU.
Farm output will need to be raised by 10% or more to counter this effect, but Defra secretary Michael Gove’s focus to deliver a “Green Brexit”, with less emphasis on food production, could restrict the arable sector’s ability to do so.
Whatever the final details future agricultural policy hold, increasing output will have to be done in an environmentally sensitive way, with IPM an integral part, according to Ms Batters. IPM is a practice based on prevention, monitoring and control of damaging organisms using a range of cultural and biological methods, using of plant protection products only when absolutely necessary.
She added that influencing outside views on the use of these tools will be important, putting safe and responsible use at the forefront of public perception.