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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.
Apples Apple producer club established in Albania with its own constitution, safe production standards, advisory service and training programme for its 120 member farmers.

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 PROTEINSECTproject is exploring fly larva (maggots), which are nutritious and can be mass produced at low cost, as animal... >>

Woody weeds in East Africa

Many exotic trees and shrubs have been introduced into Africa and become destructive invasive species. They're reducing native biodiversity and limiting the livelihoods of those that live in rural communities. CABI is trying to mitigate these impacts in East Africa by generating and sharing knowledge on their effects and finding ways that they can... >>

Biological control of diamondback moth in Canada

The diamondback moth is a global pest. Canadian farmers often have use chemicals to protect their crops. This is costly and the pest is becoming immune, meaning additional control options are needed. In Europe, Asia and Africa, Diadromus collaris, is a major parasitoid of the moth. It has been introduced to several countries or regions and has... >>

Stemming the spread of Russian olive

Russian olive (Elaeagnus angustifolia) is a significant invasive weed in North America. It is especially a problem in western parts of USA where it affects many types of natural habitats; altering the ecosystem and its functions. As experts in classical biological weed control, CABI scientists have been asked to look for a potential agent to slow... >>

Exploring options to control Canada thistle

Despite the name, Canada thistle’s natural home is Eurasia. It has spread throughout the temperate world to become one of the worst weeds in rangeland and crops. One reason for this is the absence of the natural enemies that attack it in its area of origin. In North America six insect natural enemies have been introduced as biological control... >>