Importance of Integrated Crop Management in Sustainable Agriculture
Authors: Chandra Kant Tripathi, Swati Deepak dubey, Krishna Deepak Tripathi

Integrated Crop Management

ICM’s Integrated Crop Management System is a method of farming that balances the requirements of running a profitable business with environmental responsibility It includes practices that avoid waste, enhance energy efficiency and minimise pollution. By combining the best of modern technology with good farming practice, we provide a whole-farm, long-term strategy. It is not a quick fix that can be applied to one crop, or one field or one season. Although primarily concerned with crop production livestock management is equally important on mixed farms because livestock are consumers of crops and providers of organic nutrients.

Why we need ICM

Providing an expanding population with enough to eat is a huge challenge. How we meet this challenge and at the same time respect biodiversity and take into account climate change are matters of the utmost importance. Our Integrated Crop Management System allows farming to be practised in a way that safeguards the environment. At the same time it recognises that the quality, quantity and price of produce, the profitability of the farm and the adoption of new technologies are all essential if the overall stability of agriculture is to be preserved

Principles of ICM

Improving crop production quantity and quality taking into concern: Sustainability with regard to ecological and economic aspects Optimization of local resources and minimization of external inputs Environmental and human health as a central focus Integrating agro ecological, economic and human resource aspects, including local and science-based knowledge Emphasizing interrelatedness of various components, i.e. management practices in relation to crop conditions Requiring empowerment and collectively at the farmer level relating to crop management needs assessment, decision-making and implementation.

Components of ICM

  • Crop rotation
  • Soil and cultivation
  • Crop nutrition
  • Crop protection
  • Wildlife and landscape
  • Energy consumption
  • Pollution and waste
  • Organisation, auditing and assessing

    Management Options for Reducing Crop Inputs

    Strategies for reducing chemical input use can be placed on a continuum of increasing cropping system management: (i) efficiency in input use; (ii) crop management; and (iii) redesign of the cropping system to reduce reliance on inputs.

Biological practices: Biological control of insect pests and diseases through biological means is most important component of IPM. In broader sense, biocontrol is use of living organisms to control unwanted living organisms (pests). In other words, deliberate use of parasitoids, predators and pathogens to maintain pest population at level blow those causing economic loss either by introducing a new bioagent in the environment of pest or by increasing effectiveness of those already preset in the field.

Parasitoids: These are the organisms which lay eggs in or on the bodies of their hosts and complete their life cycles on host bodies as a result of which hosts die. A parasitoid may be of different type depending on the host developmental stage in or on which it completes its life cycle. For example, egg, larval, pupal, adult, egg-larval and larval pupal parasitoids. Example are different species of Trichogramma, Apanteles, Bracon, Chelonus, Brachemeria, Pseudogonotopus etc.

Predators: These are free living organisms which prey upon other organisms for their food. Examples are different species of spiders, dragon flies, damsel flies, lady bird beetles, Chrysopa species, birds etc.

Pathogens: These are micro-organisims which infest and cause diseases in their hosts as a result of which hosts are killed. Major groups of pathogens are fungi, virus and bacteria. Some nematodes also cause diseases in some insect pests. Important examples of fungi are different species of Hirsutella, Beauveria, Nomurae and Metarhizium which have been reported to infect and kill large number of insects (upto 90%) in the fields. Among viruses, most important examples are of Nuclear Polyhedrosis Virus (NPV) and Granulosis viruses. Outbreak of viruses in armyworms, cut worms, leaf folders, hairy caterpillars and plant hoppers have been reported many times. Among bacteria,Bacillus thuringiensis (B.t.) and B. popillae are very common examples. Diseases of pests can be mass multiplied in the laboratory at a low cost in liquid or powdered formulations that can be sprayed like ordinary chemical pesticides. These formulations are known as biopesticides. The different types of biocontrol practices are grouped as under:-

a. Introduction In this process, a new species of bioagent is introduced in a locality for its establishment against its host. This is done only after thorough laboratory examination and field trials for its efficacy.

b. Augmentation In this process, the population of natural enemies already present in the area is increased by releasing either laboratory reared or field collected bioagents of same species in such number as would require to suppress the pest population in that area.

c. Conservation This is most important component of biological control and plays a major role in pest suppression. In this process, natural enemies present in the nature are protected from being killed.

About Author / Additional Info:
I am Currently working as Subject matter specialist in KVK, Sultanpur