Agriculture and Environment: Sugarcane

Better Management Practices: Pest Control & Management

Most sugar producers can improve their overall pest control and management systems. One way to do this is through integrated pest management (IPM) practices that allow producers to reduce the overall impacts of pesticide use. First and foremost, producers should plant pest-resistant cane varieties to reduce the need for pesticides.
Choosing the right mix
When pesticides are necessary, producers should identify and use those that are least toxic to control the pests on their crop. The pesticide used should be the most targeted one available rather than a broad-spectrum formulation.

This will reduce the potential buildup of pest resistance, particularly of non target species. Similarly, there should be no prophylactic use of pesticides.

Scouting and periodic monitoring
Scouting and periodic monitoring allow producers to apply pesticides only when and where they are most needed, thus reducing overall use. Economic thresholds can be used to determine when pesticide applications are used. In other words, the losses from some pests may not justify the use of pesticides at all. Pesticides should only be applied at or below recommended dosages.

Important external factors
They should not be applied when wind will cause drift and should be avoided during the rainy season or just prior to large forecasted rains. Finally, filter strips of vegetation should be planted around fields not only to control erosion, but also to reduce dissolved pesticide flows into surface or ground water (LSU 2002).


Extracts from "World Agriculture & Environment" by Jason Clay - buy the book online from Island Press

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