Integrated Crop Management (CPA Leaflet)

What is Integrated Crop Management?

ICM is a method of farming that balances the requirements of running a profitable business with responsibility and sensitivity to the environment. it includes practices that avoid waste, enhance energy efficiency and minimise pollution. For many farmers or growers adoption of ICM involves some changes to existing practice. However, for the producer it must ensure a continuing living, and for the consumer a continued supply of affordable, quality produce.

ICM combines the best of modern technology with some basic principles of good framing practice. ICM is a whole farm, long term strategy. It can not 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 (Integrated Farming Systems) because livestock are consumers of crops and providers of organic nutrients.

By careful assessment, monitoring and planning, natural resources can be used fully and supplemented where necessary with inputs such as fertilisers and crop protection products. Maintenance and enhancement of landscape features and wildlife habitats are also important.

As ICM involves the whole farm and is site specific, there are no hard and fast rules about how to achieve this. individual farms differ in many ways: location, climate, soil type, cropping pattern, to name a few. However, amongst all this diversity, there are some general guidelines that can help all farmers and growers take practical steps to improve their management practices.

For everyone the process involves planning, taking action and monitoring the outcome.

ICM combines the best of modern technology with basic principles of good farming practice. The whole farm is involved.

Why do we need ICM?

The spectacular improvements in agricultural efficiency and productivity in the western world over the past 50 years, have resulted in a plentiful supply of food, produced without putting too much pressure on land not ideally suited to farming.

Increased productivity from the land however requires intensification of inputs, including energy. The popular perception is of excessive consumption of finite resources and destruction of wildlife and the landscape. The problem is with well over half the food in Britain purchased in supermarkets, there is little public appreciation of the realities of food production on the farm, nor of the benefits conferred by modern technologies.

In meeting the short-term need or food production, there is a risk that some basic values and skills, built up over generations of farming tradition, are overlooked. The march of agricultural progress has changed the landscape such as hedgerow removal.meanwhile intensive fertiliser and agrochemical usage have contributed to a reduction in biodiversity in the cropped area. These factors, coupled with a food supply that is assured and taken for granted, have led to increasing demands on farmers to be more sensitive to wildlife and environmental issues.

ICM is an agricultural system that allows farming to be practices in a way that safeguards the environment. At the same time, it recognises that the quantity, quality and price of produce are all essential if the overall economic viability is to be preserved.

There are increasing demands on farmers to be more sensitive to environmental issues. Basic values and skills built up over generations of farming traditions should not be overlooked.

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