Model Project "Demonstration Farms Integrated Plant Protection"
An important aspect of Germany's National Action Plan for sustainable use of plant protection agents/pesticides is the consequent implementation of integrated pest management (IPM) strategies on farm level. This is funded by the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection (BMELV) and managed by the Federal Office for Agriculture and Food (BLE).
It also supports the national ratification of the directive 2009/128/EG, which asks for a common action frame for sustainable pesticide use in the European Union. In form of National Action Plans (NAP) the member states establish a regulatory environment which promotes and enforces IPM strategies in farming by 2014.
Demonstration Farms Utilize Newest IPM Techniques
Selected demonstration farms in different regions of Germany utilize and demonstrate the newest IPM techniques available for important agricultural crops. The IPM methods used are made accessible to a wide audience by publications in professional journals, farming magazines, field trips with demonstrations, and farm days open to the public.
Access to the best available advisory support and on-farm supervision provided by the plant protection services of the German federal states is fundamental for the utilization of modern IPM techniques. This support is adjusted to farm-level requirements providing information on the newest techniques and means of implementation.
Coordination and Cooperation
Initially, the status quo of each demonstration farm is documented by the plant protection services of the German federal states. The introduction and performance of new IPM techniques is subsequently monitored, and data are collected electronically and partly remote. Technical advice, monitoring systems and modelling of plant pathogen/pest systems (prognosis) is provided by the Central Institution for Decision Support Systems in Crop Protection (ZEPP).
The network of demonstration farms is coordinated by the Julius Kühn-Institute (JKI). It also supports the work of plant protection services of the German federal states and is responsible for data processing, knowledge transfer and public relations. In regards to data processing, the increasing network of demonstration farms is interconnected with the national network of reference farms, as well supervised by the JKI. Annual use of plant protection products/pesticides in major crops is monitored on reference farms which allows for the calculation of several indices relevant for each crop and region. To provide for IPM inventions, the EU project "PURE" serves as a source and 'toolbox'’ for new IPM methods ready to be implemented at farm level.
Planning and Duration
In the current phase, up to 35 demonstration farms will be funded over periods of 3 to 5 years. Sixteen demonstration farms have been set up so far: apple orchards, vineyards, and field crops in Baden-Württemberg, Rhineland-Palatinate, Lower Saxony, and Mecklenburg-West Pomerania. More field crop demonstration farms are planned to be set up in North Rhine-Westphalia, Thuringia, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, and Lower Saxony. A second phase will cover crops such as field vegetables, ornamentals, and hops in selected regions of Germany.