The Institute develops plant protection concepts for integrated pest management and organic farming. We study and establish innovative plant protection solutions in long-term field trials. This includes the use of biologic and alternative methods. An important aspect of our research is the integration of efficient and concurrently sustainable plant protection methods in future-oriented cropping systems with particular consideration of non-chemical measures.
Besides our research we support the implementation of integrated pest management in practice. For this purpose the National Action Plan on Sustainable Use of Plant Protection Products offers a wide range of tools and approaches. The Institute, for example, scientifically accompanies the development of crop-specific guidelines for integrated pest management.
One particular but important aspect is the safe and profitable cultivation of minor crops like medical and aromatic plants, vegetables and many others. Here, an essential element is the sufficient availability of plant protection methods (minor uses). The minor uses are crucial to ensure that the cultivation of these crops persists and remains competitive (also for crop diversification).
The Institute coordinates three farm networks for plant protection:
The project “Demonstration farms for integrated pest management" financed by the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) essentially contributes to the implementation of integrated pest management into practice. The participating farms test new methods and technologies of integrated pest management and disseminate their experiences to other farmers and to the specialist and general public. For more information please open the project leaflet.
The network “Reference farms for plant protection” is a joint project of the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture, the plant protection services of the German Federal States and the JKI since 2007. The objective of the network is the annual analyses of data on the intensity and application of pesticides (treatment frequency index TFI) in major crops and regions. In combination with other representative farm data, TFI is evaluated by experts with respect to the necessary minimum of pesticide use. The intensity of pesticide use that is necessary to secure the cultivation of crop plants in terms of efficiency is referred to as “necessary minimum”. It assumes that any other practicable methods to prevent and control pests have been exhausted. Interests of consumer protection, environmental protection and user protection is also taken into account.
In addition, since 2000, regular surveys on the use of chemical pesticides were carried out for the most important agricultural and horticultural crops in Germany (NEPTUN project). Since 2011, they have been continued according to the requirements of regulation (EG) Nr. 1185/2009 as PAPA surveys.
Integrated plant protection concepts including minor uses are also of international importance. We actively incorporate our expertise in European and international organizations and committees to develop them further.