Integrated Pest Management

The major sources of pest and disease in oil palm estates are leaf-eating caterpillars, rhinoceros beetles, Ganoderma basal stem rot, and rats. To manage their population, the research arm of Sime Darby Plantation has contributed vastly in pioneering work and developing breakthroughs in the oil palm industry in terms of Integrated Pest Management (IPM). IPM is the combined use of compatible methods of pests and diseases control that include ecological, physical, biological and chemical controls. IPM reduces use of chemical pesticides and negative environmental and food chain impacts.

We adopt biological controls for integrated pest management since the 1990s and to-date, over 329,000 hectares of oil palm in Sime Darby Plantation is managed under IPM. Our pest management methods include: 
  • Direct bio-control agents such as viruses and fungi to infect the pests such as Cordyceps to manage the population of the nettle caterpillar.
  • Predatory animals/insects that feed on pests namely rats to control their population. Barn owls and snakes keep check on the rodent population, while predatory insects, parasitoids and entomo-fungi eliminate lead-defoliating insects. (Pictures) Beneficial plants are cultivated to provide shelter and supplementary food such as nectar in encouraging the population of predators and parasites.
In situations when natural enemy pressure is not sufficient to manage the pest population, we do employ the usage of environment-friendly pesticides. Sime Darby Plantation does not use WHO Class 1A (including paraquat) pesticides. We are also phasing out the usage of Class 1B pesticide. Pesticides are only employed as a temporary measure, and are stopped once the situation is within control and natural controls are reactivated.
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