Today, growers of many U.S. crops hire independent professional consultants to manage their product use and only request applications of crop protection products when a problem arises. They also use products that are specific to the pests present. This has led some crops, like cotton, to reduce product applications from 20 or 40 applications per year down to 4 or 5.
Integrated Pest Management
Integrated Pest Management practices (IPMs) allow farmers to reduce energy use, environmental risk and production costs while maintaining quality output and helping improve water, air and soil quality. IPM combines the planned use of crop protection inputs with other practices to keep pest populations low and minimize effects on natural resources. These practices include monitoring for pests and rotating between different crops to help safeguard crops.
Region Specific IPM
Additional information on IPM practices and the crop protection industry’s commitment to sustainability can be found through the resources below.
IPM represents just one component of the agricultural industry’s commitment to reducing its environmental footprint. Used in IPM practices or alone, crop protection technology has also contributed to a sustainable agricultural production.
A January 2009 report established to inform long-term continuous improvements in agriculture production and issued by Field to Market: The Keystone Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture, of which CropLife America is a member, found key data about crop protection’s impact on the environment. The report’s findings revealed that:
- Among the crops evaluated, soil-loss efficiency trends have improved by an estimated 30 to nearly 70 percent.
- Energy use per unit of output is down by nearly 40 to more than 60 percent.
- Irrigated water use per unit of output decreased from 20 percent to nearly 50 percent.
- Carbon emissions per unit of output for crops assessed have dropped by about a third.
Radcliffe's IPM World Textbook
The University of Minnesota's Integrated Pest Management (IPM) textbook was created in 1996 and has since become a resource for communicating information on IPM. Since its inception, the Radcliffe's IPM Word Textbook has had contributors from all over the world write chapters on IPM. The site's originators, Edward B. Radcliffe and William D. Hutchinson, set key objectives for what they thought the site should provide. They include:
- A venue for easily maintaining and up-dating "state of the art" information from the world's leading experts on all aspects of IPM.
- A resource economically deliverable anywhere in the world that can be freely downloaded and used by students, teachers, and IPM practitioners.
- A forum for the international presentation of practical information and theory on IPM.
- Links to the vast and rapidly growing IPM resources available on the Internet including photographs and decision-support software.