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Fighting plant pests, bugs and diseases with Integrated Pest Management (IPM)
Integrated Pest Management works with nature to control disease and pest levels. Farmers monitor  elds and orchards closely to know when pests reach a level at which action needs to be taken to protect the crop. IPM is often described as “good bugs  ghting bad bugs,” but there is more to it than that. It also uses a combination of cultivation techniques such as crop rotation, physical barriers, and the use of bene cial insects and fungi helps ensure the best combination of pest control tactics, whether they be mechanical (such as tillage), cultural (such as good bugs) or chemical (e.g. pesticides).
Soil with high organic matter
The Real Dirt on Farming
Courtesy of AgInnovation Ontario
Environmental farm plans
For more than 20 years, farmers across Canada have voluntarily been taking part in an educational program called the Environmental Farm Plan. This program helps farmers in each province to identify environmental improvements on their farms, and set goals and timetables to complete them. It’s the most widely used environmental program in Canadi- an agriculture, and its success and credibility are so strong that its regional components are now being harmonized into a single, national standard that can be incorporated into processor and retailer sustainability programs.
What’s a buffer zone?
A buffer zone is a grassy area directly adjacent to a body of water, such as a stream or a pond. These buffers, also called “riparian” areas, bring many bene ts:
• Increased shade causes cooler water temperatures that attract desirable  sh species.
• More biodiversity exists through varied streamside habitats.
• Endangered or at-risk species are protected by providing habitats.
• Reduced soil erosion.
• Increased natural pollinator populations.
• Less nutrient runoff from farm  elds.
Fences around ponds and streams also help maintain water quality by keeping livestock out, and farmers can use solar or wind powered pumps to provide water for grazing animals.
Funky fungi
Researchers at Ontario’s Brock University are working to develop an effective and more naturally derived method of pest control by studying the relationship between ground- based fungi – a naturally occurring bug-killer – and plants. Fungal traits, such as drought tolerance, or conversely a greater ability to stay  xed in the soil under wet conditions, could make for more sustainable agricultural production, and decrease the need for pesticides.

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