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Improving lives by solving problems in agriculture and the environment

Integrated crop management

Integrated crop management

Integrated crop management (ICM) is a holistic approach to sustainable agriculture. It considers the situation across the whole farm, including socio-economic and environmental factors, to deliver the most suitable and safe approach for long-term benefit. This means carefully considering site selection, soil management, seed & planting material, crop rotation, crop nutrition, pest management, water management and landscape management that fit the local conditions and climate. ICM is not rigidly-defined. It is a dynamic system that adapts to changing conditions by combining local knowledge with new research and technologies. We often work where resources for production are limited, and in these situations the best solution is often to focus on optimising existing resources. In such a way, ICM delivers sustainable agricultural production that safeguards a farm’s natural assets and surrounding community, now and in the future.

Find out more about ICM and CABI’s work - watch the video below:



Ulli Kuhlmann

Dr Ulrich Kuhlmann

Head of Integrated Crop Management



ICM Diagrams

The ICM team uses a multi-stakeholder approach to work with local partners at all levels- from governments to farming households. Together, we promote the every-day use of ICM as a long-term strategy to improve agricultural production, farmer livelihoods and food security. We work through steps of participatory development, validation, implementation and finally dissemination of economically-viable ICM solutions. Through continuous exchange of knowledge with our local partners and experts from other CABI centres around the world, we ensure that ICM conceptual frameworks are developed according to local needs. Building capacity of local partners to monitor and evaluate their work empowers them to adapt their approaches when needs change.

ICM Diagram 

ICM Diagram_FINAL1

The ICM programme at CABI’s Switzerland Centre has been active for nearly 15 years. It began in 2000 when the team consisted of two people implementing a project to cabbage production in DPR Korea. Since then, our team has expanded to ten and we work on a broad range of projects all over the world. Our global reach has also increased, now spanning various developing, transitional and developed countries across Asia, Africa, Latin America and Europe, with a growing number and diversity of international partners with whom we collaborate, design and implement projects. We also link closely with CABI colleagues from other regional centres, and connect to global information resources, such as the Plantwise Knowledge Bank and the CABI Crop Protection Compendium. As we grow, our focus and passion remains centred on providing technical support and expertise to improve agricultural practices.

Workshop to develop Green and Yellow Lists, tools for organizing and implementing pest management options 

Please visit our project pages listed below for further details about our past and current project work.

Inspecting cabbage in DPR Korea Rational pesticide use training course jointly developed with the Department of Plant Protection of the Ministry of Agriculture in DPR Korea, and implemented across 8 pilot cooperative farms, with awareness of this topic created on a farm management level across the nation.
Farmer training on how to manage an Oriental tobacco seedbed according to IPM (Photo: Wade Jenner, CABI) 17,000 farmers trained on best agricultural practices in tobacco production in Argentina and 10,000 farmers trained in Turkey.
 ToT participants demonstrate field transplanting of maize 24 Trichogramma production facilities established in DPR Korea, producing sufficient parasitoids (natural enemies) to combat the Asian corn borer across 16,800 ha of maize.

Head of Integrated crop management programme

Ulli Kuhlmann portrait

Ulrich Kuhlmann

Integrated crop management advisors

Dirk Babendreier

Dirk Babendreier

Julien Grunder

Julien Grunder



Luca Heeb

Keith Holmes

Keith Holmes

Wade Jenner

Wade Jenner

Melanie Bateman

Melanie Bateman

Stefan Töpfer

Stefan Toepfer

Manfred Grossrieder

Manfred Grossrieder


Controlling the cabbage seedpod weevil in Canada

The cabbage seedpod weevil is a widely distributed pest of cruciferous crops in Europe and North America, causing substantial economic losses in canola crops in Canada. Current control measures still rely on applying broad-spectrum insecticides. We are collecting European distribution data for a parasitic wasp that is the weevil’s most effective... >>

Protecting leeks and onions from pests

The invasive leek moth poses a significant and immediate threat to producers of leeks, onions, garlic and chives in North America. The larvae mine the green tissues, reducing the marketability of crops. The pest’s distribution is expanding, with no signs of suppression by indigenous natural enemies. We are supporting an integrated pest management... >>

Biological control of brown marmorated stink bug

International trade is a common way for insects to ‘hitch-hike’ their way to new countries. The brown marmorated stink bug, originally from East Asia, has become a harmful invasive pest of many fruit and vegetable crops in North America and Europe. Biological control using Asian or European natural enemies may be an environmentally friendly,... >>

Controlling noxious Russian knapweed in the North America

Russian knapweed is one of several invasive plants of rangelands that arrived in North America as a seed contaminant in the 19th century, in this case from Asia. Biological control is often a good approach for these plants, but a nematode species introduced in the 1970s proved ineffective against Russian knapweed. Funded by a US and Canadian... >>

Partnership with DPR Korea's Ministry of Agriculture

Agricultural production in DPR Korea is low, resulting in food shortages and the need for international aid. Ensuring food security is a priority for the government. We have helped the newly-established Department of Plant Protection to sustainably improve agricultural production by optimizing its ability to develop and implement plant protection... >>

Growing tobacco more sustainably in Turkey

Tobacco production is of high social and economic importance in Turkey. Farmers of oriental tobacco, an aromatic sun-cured variety, are contracted by leaf supplier companies that provide production supplies and advice. They lack knowledge of sustainable pest management techniques, however, so the use of chemical pesticides is high. We are working... >>

Insects as a source of protein

Global demand for animal-sourced foods is accelerating. Fishmeal and crops such as soya are key ingredients in animal feeds but are not ecologically or economically sustainable. Insect protein presents a viable alternative. The PROTEINSECT project is exploring fly larva (maggots), which are nutritious and can be mass produced at low cost, as... >>