Agricultural Practice in Poland Before and After Mandatory IPM Implementation by the European Union
Integrated pest management (IPM), a worldwide agricultural strategy, contains methods to control or manage agricultural pests and diseases in a more efficient way, and consequently, to obtain better quality raw materials for food production. The engagement and practice of farmers play a key role in the success of this strategy. Since January 1, 2014, Poland and other European Union countries have been obligated to apply the principles of IPM. This paper shows the results of surveys conducted in
... 280 randomly selected farms the year before and the year following mandatory IPM implementation. The aim of this study was to gather information about farmers' knowledge of IPM and the most commonly used plant protection methods. Our results show that law regulations do not significantly change agricultural practice. Among the non-chemical methods farmers most often comply with are: implementing the agrochemical calendar, sowing healthy material, destroying volunteer plants, rotating crop, applying balanced fertilizer, plowing stubble and preventing excess nitrogen. Integrated plant protection is not possible without proper knowledge of diseases. This factor needs improvement in Poland. The average Polish farmer lacks the knowledge about basic cereal diseases such as powdery mildew or brown rust, though larger farm operators tend to be more knowledgeable. The results of this survey demonstrate the necessity to provide informative farmer training campaigns to promote on-farm application of IPM and to improve the knowledge of disease issues.