spraying© Tim Scrivener

Pesticide users have been reminded to complete an integrated pest management plan online for the year ahead by the Voluntary Initiative.

Completing the plan ensures users have considered their strategy for managing weeds, pests and diseases before using any chemicals, as required by the Sustainable Use Directive on Pesticides.

For growers who belong to farm assurance schemes such as Red Tractor and LEAF the plan is also an auditable standard of the schemes.

See also: How to monitor and treat the most troublesome crop pests

Completing a plan may also help growers to reduce their pest control costs, while also potentially reducing future problems with pesticide resistance on farm.

Crop rotation

The NFU has developed the integrated pest management plan for the Voluntary Initiative.

The latest report from the industry-led partnership has revealed that the plans were being used by 16,820 farmers in 2016-17, farming around 4.4m ha.

The NFU said completing the plans is important as a myth has developed that UK farmers don’t do integrated pest management because they have not recorded techniques besides pesticides.

Integrated pest management also includes traditional farming practices such as crop rotation, cultivation techniques and the use of resistant or tolerant cultivars and certified seeds.

As part of the Sustainable Use Directive the UK government must show that growers are using techniques.

Growers can fill in the plan on the NFU’s website.