Plant protection consists of carefully evaluated sustainable crop management practises aiming at reducing quantitative and qualitative crop losses caused by plant pathogens, weeds and animal pests.

Plant protection actions are either preventative or direct mechanical, biological or chemical control measures. Sustainable pest management is based on preventative cultural practises: pest free propagation materials, diverse crop rotations, resistant cultivars, balanced plant nutrition and soil cultivation methods reducing pest risks.

Since year 2014, all professional crop producers must follow the general principles of integrated pest management (IPM) defined in European Union Framework Directive (2009/128/EC). The ultimate aim of the directive is to minimize the potential hazards of pesticides to environment and human health. IPM enhances the implementation of preventative cultural practises in pest control instead of pesticides if possible.

Focal aspects in plant protection research

Plant protection and plant health are essential tools in risk management in crop production. Due to climate change and expansion of international trade species of potential pests as well as their biological behaviour are continuously changing. This increases the demand for plant protection research and challenges to adapt environmentally sustainable plant protection with profitable farm economy.

The main focus in plant protection research is to support to sustainable crop production, develop and test environmentally safe plant protection methods, help adaptation to climate change, enhance food safety and quality.