Due in part to the incipient nature of the industry, today's cultivators have a stronger incentive than most to guarantee the quality and safety of their products. As a result, one can see the most advanced pest management technologies and strategies in action within this burgeoning market. Often referred to as Integrated Pest Management or IPM, this approach borrows heavily from best practices in ornamental horticulture, but has been adapted to the unique needs of the Cannabis industry.
What Is IPM?
At its heart, IPM is about leveraging every possible tool in the toolbox in order to combat pests in a way that ensures positive economic and ecological results. These can include chemical solutions such as pesticides (organic and otherwise), mechanical solutions including traps, vacuuming, and other physical approaches, and biological controls including other insects that target pests and mold. Regardless, when IPM is applied in the Cannabis market, the ideal integrated solution eschews conventional pesticides and tracks to deliver outstanding yields with little to no ecological impact. This is critical in an industry where state requirements are changing on a month-by-month basis and a product that is used as medicine.
IPM was initially created post World War II, but truly emerged as a practice around 20 years ago focused on high value plants such as those found in ornamental horticulture and other high return crops. The agriculture industry initially had very little data on using IPM, but universities soon provided best practices for the industry. Simultaneously, as Cannabis grows continued to expand in size and sophistication, cultivators quickly realized the immense benefits of IPM. Not only did IPM’s focus on ecological benefits resonate with the Cannabis industry’s culture, it provided invaluable results in meeting compliance standards while delivering superior quality and quantity in yields.
Compliance with state regulations is particularly critical in an industry as young as Cannabis. Not only do these regulations change often, but also the complexity of solutions used can be daunting for any cultivator. Consider that a product like Eagle 20 is a huge fungicide in ornamental and food production and was thus thought “OK” by many states. However, when you heat this solution, it can produce cyanide gas. As a result, it is perhaps not a great idea for Cannabis!! As a result, states dramatically and quickly changed their regulations. When growers have to navigate this process, it can very challenging due to legalese and odd verbiage that can make cultivators wonder if they’re really compliant.
Article Written by Todd Statzer.