Pesticides are used alongside a range of other agricultural practices to control pests. This ensures farmers combine the responsible use of pesticides with other methods, including crop rotation, selection of disease - and pest-resistant crop varieties, and encouraging beneficial predator species such as ladybirds and beetles to control insect pests. This approach is referred to as integrated pest management (IPM).
The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations (UN) defines IPM as follows:
"Integrated Pest Management (IPM) means the careful consideration of all available pest control techniques and subsequent integration of appropriate measures that discourage the development of pest populations and keep pesticides and other interventions to levels that are economically justified and reduce or minimize risks to human health and the environment. IPM emphasizes the growth of a healthy crop with the least possible disruption to agro-ecosystems and encourages natural pest control mechanisms".
This provides the most cost effective, environmentally sound and socially acceptable method of managing diseases, insects, weeds and other pest in agriculture.
The crop protection industry also promotes best practice in pesticide use through farmer training and education, and through collaborative stewardship programmes to protect water quality and enhance farmland biodiversity, such as the Voluntary Initiative and Campaign for the Farmed Environment.
Advances in product development, regulation and stewardship ensure that the use of pesticides today is safer than ever before.