Kentucky IPM Farming Practices
Patricia L. Lucas
Extension Specialist for Integrated Pest Management
University of Kentucky Research & Education Center
Integrated Pest Management, a program designed to manage pests so that
economic damage and harmful side effects of excessive pesticide use are
avoided, was first introduced in Kentucky in the early 70's. By 1979,
thirty-five counties had organized IPM programs which included more than
200,000 acres of cropland. Kentucky established
itself as a leader in IPM during this time period with the development
of the first Small Grain IPM (scouting) Program in the nation by Marvin
Davidson of Todd County in 1978. Scouts for county programs attended IPM
Scout Schools taught by University of Kentucky Extension Specialists.
Scouting and least-cost methods of managing pests are recommended to
help farmers reduce production costs. Scouting refers to the practice
of selecting random locations throughout a field and checking each location
for weeds, diseases and insects. Locations to be scouted are selected
so that the entire field is represented. The number of locations to be
checked in a field is determined by the size of the field. The larger
the field, the more locations that are checked.
As farming started a downward spiral in the late seventies, the number
of county IPM programs and farmers participating in the program decreased.
The number of programs and counties continued to decrease with the decline
of the farm economy.
Today, IPM training is offered for Alfalfa, Small Grains, Corn, Soybeans,
Canola, Tobacco and Apples. Programs are advertised and open to the public.
Field Crop trainings are held at University of Kentucky Research Center
in Princeton, KY, USA and at the Hardin County Extension Office in Elizabethtown,
KY, USA. Farmers, Agri-business representatives, County IPM scouts, and
Field Scouting Service employees attend the trainings.
Purpose and Objectives
A primary purpose of this study was to attempt to determine the effect
the Integrated Pest Management Program has had on farming practices presently
being used in Kentucky. A specific objective was to determine if farmers
who have attended an IPM training are more likely to say they save money
by using IPM practices than producers who have not received training.
Information obtained will also be helpful in determining the audience
for future IPM trainings and their needs. Questions relating to the number
of acres and if and how they are scouted were used in preparing the 1992
Federal IPM report for Kentucky.
The 1992 IPM Survey was publicized through a University of Kentucky
news release and the Kentucky Pest News newsletter. Each County Extension
Office and County Agriculture Agent was notified in advance that the survey
was being conducted, that members of their communities would possibly
receive the survey and that they also would be receiving a copy of the
survey. Twelve Extension Specialists who are involved with the IPM program
reviewed the survey. Prior to mailing the survey a field test was conducted.
Education levels of those involved in the field test ranged from high
school graduate to four years of college.
The descriptive survey was mailed to 1,000 addresses
throughout Kentucky. Addresses were obtained from the Kentucky Pest News
newsletter mailing list and Kentucky Seed Improvement Association.
The mailing list of Kentucky Pest News newsletter contains addresses
from two newsletters, IPM newsletter and Pest News Alert, that were merged
in 1990. Kentucky Pest News is published as a combined effort of the University
of Kentucky Departments of Agronomy, Plant Pathology and Entomology. Thus,
a wide variety of clientele receive this newsletter. The entire mailing
list of 859 received a survey.
The remaining 141 addresses were selected at random from a mailing list
provided by Kentucky Seed Improvement Association. Kentucky Seed is a
non-profit organization that certifies seed grown in Kentucky. Addresses
which appeared on the Kentucky Pest News list were removed from the Kentucky
Seed list before the random selections were made.
The initial mailing contained a cover letter, the questionnaire and
a self-addressed stamped envelope. Two weeks later a follow-up post card
was mailed to all who had not returned a survey. Thirty-three of the surveys
were returned due to incorrect address or expired forwarding orders. Twenty-four
surveys returned were not used due to farm being leased, producer retired,
death of producer, business was a cemetery, etc. Seventeen of the surveys
returned were not used because of incomplete information. Of the surveys
returned, 373 (40%) were used for this study. An added incentive for returning
surveys was that all returned surveys were entered in a drawing for a
basketball autographed by University of Kentucky Coach Rick Pitino.
The survey was designed for completion by producers, Agri-business personnel,
Field Scouting Service Employees, County IPM Scouts, Cooperative Extension
Service Employees and ASCS/SCS employees. The survey returns (as shown
in Figure 1) were as follows:
| Full-time farmer
|| 35% (132),
|| 22% (82),
|| 24% (88),
|Cooperative Extension Service Employee
|| 14% (54),
|Field Scouting Service Employee
|| 2% (8),
|| 2% (6)
|Scout for county IPM Program and other
|| 1% (3)
Only the data collected from Full-time and Part-time producers were
used for this project.
Figure 1. Survey Population
Frequencies, Chi-square tests and sums were calculated using SAS(tm)
and an IBM mainframe computer. Raw data were used in all statistical tests
and in calculating percentages presented in the results.
Using the Chi-Square test it was determined that being full or part-time
had no statistically significant effect on the farmer's attending an IPM
training (P=0.230). With no significant difference, the two groups were
combined for a larger data set.
Of the farmers surveyed, 48% have never attended a training program
on Integrated Pest Management. However, when asked what types of reference
information they have on IPM, 92% used some form of information on IPM.
Newsletter was indicated most often by both fulltime and part-time farmers
as their information source. Their second choice was magazine followed
by picture sheets, then manual and last books. Only 8% of all farmers
indicated that they used no reference material on Integrated Pest Management.
Figure 2. IPM Materials Used by Farmers
In the comment section of the survey several indicated that to their
knowledge IPM is not offered in their county and that the distance is
a major reason they do not attended trainings. If trainings could be held
in their county or area they would be willing to attend.
When making a decision on whether to use a pesticide, only one practice
was found to be significantly different using Chi-square test based upon
whether the farmer had received IPM training. Farmers who had received
training were more likely to check areas of the entire field before making
a decision on using a pesticide (P=.027). Training made no difference
in use of the following practices:
- Estimate Pest Population (P=0.284)
- Plant Growth Stage (P=0.626)
- Economic Threshold or Treatment Guideline (P=0.176)
- Check Pesticide Cost Per Acre (P=0.607)
- Stand Counts (P=0.489)
- Try to Understand the Biology of the Pest (P=0.129)
The Chi-square test was used to determine if having received IPM training
influenced the use of nine practices selected
from the survey. Only the use of recommended planting dates (P=0.048)
and the use of insect and disease resistant cultivars (P=0.019) were found
to be significantly influenced by having attended an IPM training.
Attendance had no significant effect on use of the following practices:
- Soil Testing (P=0.462)
- Testing for Soil Compaction (P=0.990)
- Control of weeds along field edges and in fence rows (P=0.548)
- Regular Field Scouting (P=0.98)
- Use of Certified Seed (P=0.246)
- Calibration of Seeding Rates (P=.189)
The major finding from this project was that even though being a full-time
or part-time farmer had no effect upon whether or not IPM training had
been received, farmers who had received IPM training placed a higher value
(in dollars saved) on IPM training (P=0.033).
Conclusions and Recommendations
Training is an essential part of IPM. Producers who receive training
place a higher value on IPM and are more likely to say they save money
through the use of IPM techniques. Training attendance had no effect upon
whether a farmer chose to use most practices; however, training may make
a difference as to whether a technique is used correctly.
Over half the farmers surveyed had never attended an IPM training program;
however, 92% used some type of reference material relating to IPM. We
believe that IPM practices are widely used by Kentucky farmers but not
acknowledged as an IPM practice. A primary example is the practice of
soil testing. Soil Testing has always been a recommended IPM practice,
not only to test fertility but also to check for soil insects. Most of
the practices are also recommended by other Extension programs.
Farmers who attend IPM trainings are more likely to scout a field before
making a decision on whether to use a pesticide. When making the decision
to use a pesticide, the only practice found to be statistically significant,
based upon whether a farmer had received IPM training, was checking areas
of the entire field.
Based upon the information received from this survey, farmers should
be the primary audience of the IPM program since 84% indicated that they
are responsible for scouting their own fields. IPM trainings have always
been called "Scout Schools" and thought of as a training program for scouts
employed by county IPM programs or by field scouting services. This image
plus the decline of county-based IPM programs, may be responsible for
the decline in attendance at IPM trainings over the years.
Original document: 11 September 1996
Last updated: 11 September 1996
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