Farmer and grower input needed for new ELMs IPM project

The NFU has started a new project looking at how Integrated Pest Management (IPM) actions could be supported under Defra’s future Environmental Land Management (ELM) scheme.

Having successfully secured Defra funding, the NFU is now working with ADAS - the UK's largest independent agricultural and environmental consultancy - and Scotland's Rural College (SRUC) to deliver the project through 2021. It will aim to understand current levels of IPM by farmers and growers, and then provide them with advice and guidance (one-to-one support, facilitated workshops, or a ‘do it yourself’ option) to see how this could improve IPM delivery. At the same time behavioural insights interviews will be used to better understand the drivers and barriers to taking up IPM.

IPM looks set to be rolled out under the Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI) part of ELMs, and it is one of the four core elements of SFI set to be launched in 2022. This NFU project on IPM will provide essential evidence to inform how Defra’s SFI can support IPM actions.

What does the project entail?

The project will look at the advice and guidance farmers and growers require to plan, deliver and record IPM public goods, including developing robust ways to measure delivery, and how this IPM could fit in an ELMs plan.

We need over 200 farmers and growers from across England, representing a range of farming types, sizes and IPM experience, to participate in this project. Project participants will be asked to complete an IPM plan at the beginning of the project and after having received tailored advice and guidance. Some farmers and growers will be asked to join a workshop or 1-to-1 discussions with agronomists or researchers, and we have secured Defra funding to pay these participants for the their involvement in the project.

How can I get involved?

If you grow arable, forage, potato or field veg crops and would like to participate in this important project, please complete the new NFU-VI IPM plan here. Please ensure you ‘opt-in’ for project participation at the end of the plan.

NFU Vice President Tom Bradshaw said:

“Our aim is this project leads to a supportive future ELM scheme that matches our ambition for all pest, weed and disease control decisions to be made as part of an IPM approach.

“The project sets out to provide the evidence Defra needs to build ELM options that help farmers and growers deliver more IPM.”

The new IPM plan has been developed by the NFU and the Voluntary Initiative (VI) to replace the existing plan with an improved survey to help users develop IPM practice and help inform future policy. The new plan provides farmers and growers with an IPM score, enabling them to measure their own improvement.

Completing the IPM plan won’t just help develop future ELM support, but will also help farmers and growers identify opportunities to improve IPM and how they and the industry is responsibly managing the sustainable use of pesticides. Completing the IPM plan may also help meet assurance scheme requirements.

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