Part 2, Section 1: Pest Management
Activities Involved in an IPM Program
Record keeping is an important component of any pest management program. Keeping records of pest occurrence and intensity, management activities, weather conditions, and effectiveness of management strategies within each field can provide valuable insights for future pest management. When no records are kept it can be difficult to remember from season to season what activities took place in a given field. This can be costly, for example, if a herbicide with carryover potential was applied to a field that then was planted to a sensitive crop the following year. Some insect species are attracted to certain weed types. By knowing the history of insect activity on a farm and which weeds are prevalent in a given field, the probabilities of damage for upcoming years can be assessed, and activities to prevent crop injury can be implemented.
An example of this type of record would be "moisture conditions and crop growth stage relative to other fields on the farm when corn rootworm beetles were active." Using this information, a farm manager can determine which corn fields most likely will need an insecticide treatment or rotation to another crop the next year.
Record keeping also is necessary to meet pesticide regulations. These require a farmer to keep information on pesticides applied to a field, when the pesticides were applied, and at what rate. Future regulations may require additional information about field activities.
In a farm operation, one person should take responsibility for record keeping to ensure the consistency of the records. When keeping good records is difficult because of time limitations, hiring a crop consultant may be advisable. In Pennsylvania, several organizations provide record-keeping services. A number of private consultants, crop management associations, farmer organizations, and ag chem dealers provide record-keeping services. Contact your county extension agent for information on such services in your area.
Good records serve many purposes; when interpreted properly they can provide insights into crop production problems, potential pest problems and their solutions, and crop fertility trends. They can serve as a measure of management improvement on the farm and as an indicator of business health. They may help in seeking operating loans and in meeting regulatory requirements. They also can help minimize the costs associated with income tax preparation.