Integrated Pest Management (IPM)

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is a sustainable approach to managing pests by combining biological, cultural, physical and chemical tools in a way that minimizes economic, health and environmental risks. IPM research is being conducted at a variety of CEFS units, including the Pasture-Based Beef, Pasture-Based Dairy, Alternative Swine Production, Organic Research and Small Farm Units.

Figure 1

The CowVac System

The veterinary entomology program at NC State University is recognized as an innovator in pest management strategies for IPM programs. Projects include the development of the CowVac system, the patented fly trap designed to vacuum flies from cows as they pass through the device.

Another novel approach to pest management, known as the “push-pull” strategy, utilizes naturally-occurring insect repellents to provide fly relief to cattle and swine. Coupled with other control measures, insecticides or traps, the push-pull strategy reduces fly pressure with less insecticide.

Additional projects have examined the role of dung beetles to improve pasture health and soil conditioning while reducing quantities of accumulated dung. New studies are focused on the role of dung beetles in the mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions in pasture systems.

Further cooperative research (NC State Entomology, Crop Science, Fisheries and Wildlife) at CEFS’ Organic Research Unit led to recommendations for management of non-crop vegetation in organic crop production systems.

For more information on IPM, including commodity-specific information on IPM practices, please visit the NC Cooperative Extension Integrated Pest Management portal.