IPM, or integrated pest management, is a practice used by almost all farmers to some extent. It involves monitoring insects populations on your crop, both damaging insects as well as beneficial predators that eat the damaging insects. Ideally, a farmer would keep crop damaging insects under control by cultivating a healthy population of beneficial predator insects. This kind of balance can be achieved by careful selection of chemicals, alternative mowing practices that encourage insect habitat and introduction of benefical insects.
One reason IPM is benefical to the consumer is because it often means fewer chemicals have been applied whether the cropis organic or non-organic. IPM is beneficial to the farmer (and consequently the consumer) because it can lower the costs of growing, it can improve the health of the soil and lower fuel consumption. All of these benefits help keep working farms a part of our landscape.
Sunrise Orchards' Eco-Apples are IPM grown and our IPM program is third party certified by the IPM Institute of North America. This means that not only do we pledge to follow IPM practices in a strict manner, we have our practices and our records audited each year by an outside party.
A side benefit of IPM for the grower is that it helps us become intimately aware of the ecosystems that thrive in our orchard. Practicing IPM means climbing trees, inspecting leaves and many long walks down the many long rows, listening to the insects, the weather patterns and the plants all creating a chorus of sound that you can't hear from your office window.