Prevention within IPM is composed of the application of good agronomic practices such as planting and sowing techniques, crop rotation and the use of pest and disease-resistant varieties. Also, many cultural practices, such as the quick removal of waste from the greenhouse are preventive activities that can improve the phytosanitary status in greenhouse crops. These preventive methods are effective and cost efficient as a basis for a successful IPM-strategy.
Monitoring of environmental and crop parameters is the basis for reliable Decision Support Systems (DSSs) and early warning systems. These tools are of key importance within a successful IPM strategy. Effective implementation of DSSs requires efficient pest monitoring systems in order to assess the actual pest profile and pest pressure at different spatial and temporal scales, as well as the actual population dynamics of beneficials and antagonists. Pest monitoring systems are traditionally expensive, time-consuming and subject to variation. Because of the time consuming and expensive nature of in situ monitoring, the majority of growers are reluctant to invest fully in this part of IPM. Nevertheless, monitoring is vital given the short life cycles of pests and diseases and the potential for sudden outbreaks due to changes in the weather.
Sensing technologies provide non-destructive, objective measurements of crop growth status and the overall health of crops and have the additional benefit of detecting the occurrence of stress prior to permanent damage and before effects are visible, allowing for a fast response. In addition, sensing technologies allow for the application of the right dose and resource at the right time and place. A simple example is the targeted application of pesticides based on plant biomass, as spraying bare soil patches with a full dose of pesticide is unnecessary.
Within the field of image recognition, some commercially available products can record the number of pests caught on sticky traps semi-automatically. Additionally, research and preliminary implementation of wingbeat sensors offer great potential to identify flying insects.
Control measures within IPM are applied based on the results of the DSSs. The control methods need to be chosen appropriately taking into account their effectiveness and the potential risks. Preferentially, control measures should be based on mechanical control (e.g., trapping), biological control or use of highly selective chemical compounds such as pheromones to disrupt mating. The challenge today is still that the efficacy of these control methods must improve significantly to achieve widespread implementation. The use of smart technologies and precision farming techniques can significantly improve the effectiveness of these control methods.