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Model Project "Demonstration Farms Integrated Plant Protection"

Consequent implementation of integrated pest management (IPM) strategies on farm level is an important aspect of Germany's National Action Plan for sustainable use of plant protection agents/pesticides. National Action Plans (NAP) establish a regulatory environment in EU member states which promotes and enforces IPM strategies in farming.

The National Action Plan 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. The model project "Demonstration Farms Integrated Plant Protection" is funded by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) and managed by the Federal Office for Agriculture and Food (BLE). The project aims to facilitate horizontal and vertical knowledge transfer in IPM.

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. IPM strategies are monitored on farm level visualizing practical relevance of implemented IPM methods. The IPM methods used are made accessible to a wide audience by publications in professional journals, farming magazines, field trips with demonstrations, and by 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 (extension) is fundamental for the utilization of modern IPM techniques. This support is adjusted to farm-level requirements providing customized information on the newest techniques and means of their implementation.

Coordination and Cooperation

The network of demonstration farms is coordinated by the Julius Kühn-Institute (JKI). It also supports the work of plant protection services and is responsible for data processing, knowledge transfer and public relations. In regards to data processing, the network of demonstration farms is interconnected with the national network of reference farms. The annual use of plant protection products/pesticides in major crops is also monitored on reference farms. This allows for the calculation of several indices relevant for each crop and region, and for comparison with demonstration farms. Several national and EU-projects serve as a ‘toolbox’ for new and innovative IPM methods ready to be implemented at farm level.

Initially, the 'IPM 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. Technical advice, monitoring systems (DSS) and modelling of plant pathogen/pest systems (prognosis) is provided by the Central Institution for Decision Support Systems in Crop Protection (ZEPP).

Project duration and location

The project time frame is 2011-2018. It peaks in 2014/15 with 66 farms participating over periods of five years. All farms are demonstrating 'best practice' in integrated pest management, each in their main production area: apple orchards, viticulture, arable crops, field vegetables and hop production. The farms are distributed over ten federal states.

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