APMA104-Principles of Integrated Pest Management

Module Provider: School of Agriculture, Policy and Development
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn / Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2020/1

Module Convenor: Dr Robbie Girling

Email: r.girling@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:

Learn the core principles of integrated pest management (IPM) and how IPM is being used globally to increase the sustainability of agricultural production. Through lectures and laboratory practical sessions you will discover the major classes of pest organisms in crop and forestry systems and will learn integrated methods for their control. You will develop a framework to help you consider the factors that determine the impacts of pests, disease and weeds. By drawing on a range of case studies from around the world you will develop an understanding of how IPM can be incorporated in a whole system approach.


This module aims to provide students with:

  • A robust understanding of the key principles of integrated pest management

  • A knowledge of the major classes of organisms that are considered pests in global cropping and forestry systems and an ability to recognise a limited range of plant disease signs, pests, weeds and beneficials

  • An understanding of the processes of population ecology that influence pest population dynamics and therefore the impacts of those pests

  • A knowledge of the key tools that can be employed as part of an IPM approach

  • A range of case study examples of IPM in practice and, by making use of experimental data, the ability to evaluate the system wide interactions that influence management decisions within those systems.

Assessable learning outcomes:

By the end of the module it is expected that the student will be able to:

  • Explain the key principles of integrated management, using examples from a range of case studies

  • Recognise a limited range of plant disease signs, pests, weeds and beneficials

  • Understand how parasitic organisms, weeds and beneficials transfer between host crops and multiply, both within crop and regionally

  • Describe typical drivers of pest p opulation - dynamics, with examples of their effects

  • Be familiar with a range of pest control practices , monitoring and decision support tools, and critically evaluate them as part of an IPM approach

  • Recognise, explain and evaluate selected examples of system-wide integration of management tactics

  • Analyse simple pest problems and suggest system changes which will improve the overall outcome, based on experimental evidence


Additional outcomes:

Appreciation of the complexity of natural and cultivated ecosystems and better system-scale thinking; improved library research, identification and problem-solving skills. More informed reading of commercial advertising material.  Basic use of simple taxonomic keys to help identify pests and beneficials.

Outline content:

This module will: describe some of the basics of the biology of weeds, the most important herbivorous insect groups and a few of the taxonomic groups causing plant disease; demonstrate the importance of natural enemies; contrast case-histories representing successful and unsuccessful applications of biological control; introduce typical important patterns of population dynamics; show how a serious visible detriment to production is the outcome of the interaction of host, environment and patho gen, pest or weed; describe some contrasting examples to show how production systems may favour or disfavour particular organisms; discuss the action of pesticides within a cropping system and resistance evolution; decision making, precision approaches and the effect of outside constraints on use of pesticides or other agronomic variables.

The Lecture Content covers introductory biology of pest species, population dynamics applied to pathogens, weeds and pests, including the action of natural enemies; case-histories in biological control; examples of how interactions of host, environment and pathogen, pest or weed lead to different outcomes; effects and side-effects of pesticides within a cropping system; resistance evolution; precision approaches and decision support.

The Practical Content will cover: Examination and elementary diagnosis of example arthropods, nematodes, plant diseases caused by fungi, oomycetes, bacteria and viruses; estimation of effe ctive dose of a herbicide.



Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

Lectures; problem-based seminars; field/lab-based practicals; external reading.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 20 20
Tutorials 10
Practicals classes and workshops 20
Guided independent study: 60 70
Total hours by term 0
Total hours for module 200

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 50
Practical skills assessment 20
Class test administered by School 30

Summative assessment- Examinations:

A two-hour exam including a choice of essay questions.

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

A practical skills assessment comprising of a spots test (20%)

An in-class 'by scenario-type' extended answer question (30%)

Formative assessment methods:

Classroom feedback during problem-solving and identification sessions

Feedback on summative tests

Penalties for late submission:
Penalties for late submission on this module are in accordance with the University policy. Please refer to page 5 of the Postgraduate Guide to Assessment for further information: http://www.reading.ac.uk/internal/exams/student/exa-guidePG.aspx

Assessment requirements for a pass:
A mark of 50% overall.

Reassessment arrangements:

Re-examination in August/September

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):
1) Required text books:
2) Specialist equipment or materials:
3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:
4) Printing and binding:
5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:
6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

Last updated: 27 July 2020


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