Read our Frequently Asked Questions on IPM, IPM Plans and general information on who should complete the plans. You may find the answer you are looking for here.

The plan should be completed by any farm or nursery enterprise that is using professional pesticides to produce crops, ornamentals, fodder or feed. It is recommended that it should be completed by the owner/farm/nursery manager in collaboration with the sprayer operator and agronomist.  To qualify for the IPM SFI  Action, the plan/tool must be completed with your BASIS qualified adviser.  You can find one here.

The requirement to implement the principles of IPM under SUD is intended to apply to all users of professional pesticides, whatever the scale or type of enterprise, this includes smallholders and livestock farmers if they use professional pesticides.

It is recommended that an IPM plan be completed annually.  Annual completions are a requirement of some farm assurance schemes and if you sign up for the IPM1 option under the IPM SFI Actions. Any small changes to the plan made between annual reviews should be recorded on the hard copy, but it is important that the data is resubmitted online annually in order to keep an up to date record of trends in IPM practices to demonstrate progress to regulators and also to qualify for the IPM1 SFI Action payment.

The plan is available to complete online and is designed to be easy to understand and complete.

There are a number of reasons for completing an IPM plan/tool:

  • It will help to demonstrate adherence to the Code of Practice for Using Plant Protection Products identified in cross compliance SMR 10 (Previously SMR 9).
  • It will help as a decision support tool for your farm enterprise – identifying opportunities for improvement.
  • It will help the agricultural industry demonstrate the good practice of UK growers and support industry schemes to improve stewardship and retain crop protection products.
  • It may help meet the requirements of your assurance scheme.
  • If completed with the help of your BASiS qualified Adviser, it will fulfil the requirements of the IPM1 action under the IPM SFI ACtions.

The VI recognises the LEAF Sustainable Farming Review (formerly the LEAF Audit) or membership of Conservation Grade as meeting the same requirements.

There may be a need for farm/nursery businesses with multiple holdings to complete more than one plan if holdings have appreciably different cropping practices.

The Sustainable Use Directive defines IPM under the following 8 headings. The VI believes that most UK growers will be implementing some, if not all, of these measures depending upon the farm enterprise.

The prevention and/or suppression of harmful organisms should be achieved or supported among other options especially by

  • Crop rotation,
  • Cultivation techniques,
  • Use of resistant/tolerant cultivars and standard/certified seed/planting material,
  • Use of balanced fertilisation, liming and irrigation/drainage practices,
  • Hygiene measures (e.g. cleansing of machinery)
  • Protection and enhancement of important beneficial organisms,
  • Monitoring of Harmful organisms
  • Application of plant protection products (PPP's) based on monitoring data
  • Use of biological, physical and other non-chemical methods must be preferred to chemical methods if they provide satisfactory pest control.
  • Application of PPP's should be as targeted as possible.
  • The professional user should keep the use of PPP's and other forms of intervention to levels that are necessary and that do not increase the risk for development of resistance in populations of harmful organisms.
  • Anti-resistance strategies should be applied to maintain the effectiveness of the products.
  • Review the success of all intervention measures.

The principles of IPM as defined by SUD will be included in the Code of Practice for Using Plant Protection Products which is referenced in general cross compliance SMR 10 (previously SMR 9) as the basis of good crop protection and use of PPPs. So complying with the general principles of IPM as defined in SUD will be part of demonstrating compliance. In addition the IPM plan/tool replaces the Crop Protection Management Plan for those required to complete these as part of agri-environment schemes.  Likewise, if completed with your BASiS qualified adviser, the plan/tool will fulfil the IPM1 action required for the Integrated Pest Management SFI Standard.

The data from this plan is stored and collated for The Voluntary Initiative by the NFU.The data for a completed IPM Tool is stored and collated by ADAS.  The data is stored on a secure network by the NFU and ADAS. It is used to demonstrate the implementation of IPM practices in the farming industry. Only summaries of overall practices across agriculture will be taken from the data submitted. At no point will individual data on farm businesses be used, reviewed or published by VI, NFU, ADAS or any other organisation.

If completing the VI IPM Plan and you are an NFU Member, you can part complete, save and revisit your IPM Plan before completion. Non-NFU members should complete the VI IPM Plan during one sitting. Once you have completed the plan it will offer you the opportunity to print out the completed version and also to send a PDF of the completed plan to your email address.

If completing the IPM Tool, you will need to register and link to your RPA Single Business Identifier (SBI).  You can then save and continue as you go through the tool.

For the VI IPM plans, there are specific versions for grassland-only businesses and also a horticultural version.

For the IPM Tool, there is one version that covers all farm types.

Yes, the plan is being included as a recommendation in farm assurance schemes, as an approach to meeting the requirements of the Sustainable Use Directive.

Scotland now has specific Scottish IPM plans. The VI grassland plan, which may be more relevant to those with businesses in Wales, Scotland and NI is available.

Professional pesticides include herbicides (weed killers), slug pellets (molluscicides), fungicide sprays and insecticides. The difference between amateur and professional pesticides is that those that are classified as ‘professional’ are intended for use in commercial situations rather than for home and garden use. By law professional pesticides can only be used by those who hold a certificate of competence.

The plan is a voluntary measure so the final choice is down to the individual and the needs of their enterprise. Using a knapsack sprayer to spot treat weeds for example involves risks that need to be recognised and managed. Opportunities may also exist to improve weed management with integrated approaches and the IPM Plan/Tool may encourage growers to consider if an integrated approach will give better results.