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4th IPM Symposium

Economic Analysis of Bio-IPM Programs
Deana Sexson

Abstract :
Advancing production systems to enhance environmental quality is a primary goal of people working in the Integrated Pest Management (IPM) field. Environmental advances are crucial, but to maintain grower profitability, these systems must also incorporate economics into the equation. Implementations of biointensive IPM programs are only feasible when they maintain economically viable farming systems. This begs the simple question: can IPM programs be economically viable? In early stages of IPM adoption, economic advantages are often found. The economic savings are possible through the use of limited, timely and effective pesticide applications targeted at pests during their vulnerable life stages. Clear economic saving are seen when sprays occur less often during the growing season. Early examples of IPM implementation of Wisconsin potatoes showed growers could save over $160 per hectare by utilizing IPM techniques and targeting pesticide applications. The increased cost of scouting, for example, was clearly offset by the cost savings in reducing the number of pesticide sprays reducing the chemical costs for the season. However, as IPM systems become more biologically based, (including the utilization of cultural, biological, chemical, physical, and ecological methods of pest control) economic savings are much less evident. Each alternative strategies utilized by the growers for pest control purposes have costs associated in their implementation. Granted, the utilization of these various strategies do limit pest numbers thereby limiting pesticide applications, but the alternative strategies also have costs which need to be accounted for by the grower. These increased costs could be labor, managerial time, and cost of implementation. The costs of implementing reduced risk, lower toxicity pesticides can also increase production costs since the reduced risk materials are generally more expensive than conventional materials. Utilizing biologically based IPM systems does enhance environmental quality and many benefits to the ecological landscapes are found. Putting a dollar value on the environmental and ecological advantages can be difficult, and retuning this cost to the grower is a challenge we face as we move toward advanced, biologically based production systems.

Powerpoint Presentation : Economic Assessment of IPM Programs


American Farmland Trust