This article originally appeared in the March 2017 print edition of Cannabis Business Times. To subscribe, click here.
Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is an overarching strategy with specific protocols for preventing pests in an agricultural environment by employing techniques for identifying, managing and eliminating pests should they arise. It is a better use of resources to prevent a pest problem from occurring by creating an inhospitable environment for pests, facilitating induced systemic resistance and proper operation design.
With cannabis being an agricultural crop, the solutions to its cultivation problems lie within traditional agriculture. A well-crafted IPM plan is an effective strategy for every cannabis cultivator to mitigate crop loss, increase quality and utilize correct techniques to achieve the desired result.
IPM helps create a balanced ecosystem, provides alternatives to pesticide usage, saves money, establishes a safer work environment for employees and can enhance a cultivator’s image. A balanced ecosystem keeps one species from overpopulating and doing vast damage to another species. However, with pesticide usage, the balance is frequently disrupted by killing both the pest and its natural predator, and unintentionally causing the pest to become resistant to the pesticide used. The chance of resistance increases within improper application. IPM only applies a pesticide at the right moment in a pest's life cycle, when the pesticide will be most effective.
In cannabis operations, a solid IPM program also will take into account what pesticides are allowed in your state or market, when they can be applied and how workers need to be trained and educated on protective equipment, certified in worker protection standards, understand reentry period requirements, and how to properly apply and dispose of pesticides.
IPM can save a cultivator money through mitigation of crop damage and loss. Cultivators will not feel pressured to use unapproved pesticides when they have many options for pest control. This eliminates the risk of a product recall, as well as the brand damage and financial losses associated with recalls.
To read the full article in Cannabis Business Times' March edition, click here.