Why Crop Protection
What are Pests
Losses due to Pests
Integrated Pest Management
Integrated Pest Management Strategy
Why Crop Protection
- India with diversified agro - ecosystems
responded spontaneously to the technologies of green revolution
with introduction of several components in crop production like
developing and adopting high yielding varieties, hybrids, usage
of new agro-chemicals and adoption of intensive crop cultivation
The gains of green revolution reflected in the shape of production
of 200 million tonnes of food grains, 25 million tonnes of oil
seeds and 15 million tonnes of fibres per annum. But these steady
gains in agricultural production over past four decades have not
fully overcome the problem of rising demand caused by soaring
- Adding to the population explosion, there
were frequent set backs to crop production experienced in the
shape of abiotic and biotic stresses during the last two decades
in several food crops where intensive farm practices were adopted.
- Among these stresses on major crops, increased
pest populations leading to the stage of collapse of economy,
at times keep the planners and executors to be helpless. In the
past one and half decades, the periodical unabated explosions
of aphids, whiteflies, bollworms, pod borers, defoliators, coccids,
cutworms, plant hoppers etc., as direct crop damagers and disease
transmitters in different regions of the country have made agriculture
less remunerative and highly risk prone.
- The ability of some of these pests to develop
resistance curbs the effectiveness of many commercial chemicals.
Resistance has accelerated in many insect species and it was reported
that more than 500 insect and mite species are immune to one or
more insecticides at present. Similarly about 150 plant pathogens
such as fungus and bacteria are now shielded against fungicides.
Some of the weedicides also found effective earlier failed to
control weeds now-a-days.
- Experts assessment reveal that around 22
per cent of yield losses in major crops like Rice, Cotton, Groundnut,
Sugarcane, Sorghum, Tomato, Chillies, Mango, Grapes, etc., can
be attributed to insect pests.
- Hence, there is need to reduce if not eliminate
these losses by protecting the crops from different pests through
appropriate techniques. At present day the role of crop protection
in agriculture is of great importance and a challenging process
than before, as the so called resistant species should be brought
- All other management practices of crop
husbandry will be futile if the crop is not protected against
the ravages of pests. In absence of crop protection the yields
may be drastically declined. The entire effort of growing a crop
will be defeated in absence of crop protection resulting in financial
loss to the grower. So the crop protection against various pests
is a must in agriculture.
What are Pests
- 'PEST' is an organism that causes damage
resulting in economic loss to a plant or animal. It can also be
said that pest is a living organism that thrives at the expense
of other living organism.
- The expression of "Pest" is used
very broadly to insects, other invertebrates like nematodes, mites,
snails and slugs, etc., and vertebrates like rats, birds, jackals,
etc., that cause damage to crops, stored products and animals.
- Disease producing pathogens of plants and
weeds are also referred as crop pests.
Losses caused due to pests
- It is a well known fact
that insects being widely distributed became more problematic
in tropical climate. Of 1.5 million species of insects so far
described few are so conspicuous in their presence due to their
ability to develop rapidly and becoming serious by attacking food
crops directly and indirectly.
- In developing country
like ours insects are dominating over other pests by acquiring
characters like resistance to toxic chemicals, and resurgence,
particularly in intensive crop management regions of the country.
The losses caused by insect pests like Spodoptera, Heliothis,
Whitefly and Aphids are so enormous that these made the farmer
to disturb the present ecosystems with continuous use of excessive
The losses caused by different
pests and monitory losses incurred as a result of loss is furnished
Loss caused (in percentage)
Monitory loss in crores (Rs.)
- Source : Pesticide Information April -
Integrated Pest Management (Ipm)
What is Ipm ?
- IPM is a system that
in the context of the associated environment and the population
dynamics of the pest species utilizes all suitable techniques
and methods in as compatible manner as possible and maintains
the pest populations at levels below those causing economic injury
(FAO, 1972). In integrated pest management both crop and pest
are seen as part of a dynamic agro-ecosystem.
- IPM attempts to capitalize on natural biological
factors that limit pest out breaks, only using chemicals as a
last resort. The goal is to reduce crop damage to a level where
it is economically tolerable, using control measures whose cost
both economic and ecological is not excessive. A number of non-chemical
cultural practices form the core of IPM. But IPM does not preclude
chemical pesticide usage. Pesticide usage is one of weapons in
the management armoury to us that can be exploited sensibly and
IPM In Sustainable Agriculture
- For sustainable agriculture IPM is location
specific and resource oriented process in terms of ,
- Preserving land races of the crops that
can with stand biotic and abiotic stresses.
- Restoring ecobalance to the extent possible.
- Highlighting the importance of organic
- Dovetailing traditional methods with modern
- Involving physical labour along with agro-machinery
and chemical means.
- Developing human resource to understand
the recyclic (energy transfer) phenomenon of agro-ecosystems.
- Leading to less risk-prone vis-a-vis low
input oriented agriculture.
- Acceptable socially, economically and politically.
Integrated Pest Management Strategy
- While developing IPM strategy one has to
select different components that are readily available, economical
and applicable at field level.
- To cater the needs for location specific
cropping systems the suitable technologies should be developed
by Research workers from time to time.
- The research findings that are practically
implementable should be popularized by the Extension workers through
education to farming community. Farmers have to be trained in
scouting, diagnosis of pest infestation and arriving ETLs for
need based chemical application in time.
- Farmers should also be trained in selection
of suitable pesticide, use of proper lethal dose and proper coverage
of foliage to avoid risks of resistance, resurgence and residues.
Farmers training is a continuous process and is an important integrated
part for successful implementation of IPM.
- An healthy, meaningful co-operation is
very much needed from corporate pesticide industry to make IPM
successful at farmers level. The pesticide industry should not
wield enormous financial power and maintain market dominance against
ecological and environmental safety.
When to use Crop Protection Chemicals
- When adult activity is in increasing trend
resulting in unacceptable pest load on crop as indicated by pheromone,
light and sticky traps.
- When field scouts fixed plot survey indicate
a particular dominating stage of pest in the field.
- When the bio-agents existing in the area
did not attain a level, that can influence the pest population.
- When insecticide resistance due to usage
of insecticides does not surface practically.
- When residues of insecticides do not become
- When the role of bio-agents and other environmental
resistance factors are less perceptible.
How can a Crop be monitored
- A field crop is monitored to determine a pests
economic status or to determine whether a natural enemy is at
a level capable of suppressing a pest's population density. So
identification of pests and beneficial insects is of prime importance
before any control operation is executed.
- Monitoring tools like pheromone, light and sticky
traps can be advantageously used. Field scouting adopting fixed
plot survey or roving survey should be taken from time to time
to monitor the crop in determining whether the pest population
Which Products Form Part of The Ipm Strategy
- Different monitoring tools like pheromone traps,
light traps, coloured sticky traps.
- Preserved specimens of pests, natural enemies,
infested plant portions as identification tools.
- Bird perches.
- Seed dressing chemicals and seed dressing machines.
- Seeds of Resistant varieties.
- Ecofriendly insecticides like Neem products and
bio-fungicides like Trichoderma sp.
- Natural enemies like Trichogramma egg cards,
and microbial preparations of NPV & Bt.
- Soft and target specific pesticides.
- Bait preparations.
- Good plant protection equipment.
- Finally mostly farm based renewable resources
that can enhance the recycling phenomenon of ecosystem should
form part of IPM strategy.