In 2005, Houston’s Farm made the decision to move towards a more natural form of pest control which utilised the principles of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) to control weeds, insects and plant disease.
IPM involves careful forward planning and the utilisation of a range of good farm management strategies including, crop rotation, ground preparation, efficient irrigation and drainage. It also utilises careful monitoring of crops throughout the growth cycle of plantings which is critical to the identification of weeds, disease and insects so that they can be managed in the early stages.
The IPM approach has resulted in a complete change of mindset about control of pests and a marked reduction in the use of chemicals. While chemicals, such as insecticides are still used, they are used as selective support tools, and only used when necessary. Instead other techniques are used such as resting land between crops, building up the nutrients in soils and encouraging beneficial insects that prey on other damage causing insects. By utilising a combination of control methods rather than relying on pesticides alone, we believe we are achieving a more sustainable outcome for the business and for the environment.