Agronomic research and extension personnel generally recognize the benefits of integrated pest management (IPM) but IPM practices have not been rapidly adopted by farmers. In order for applied research and extension programs to be as influential as possible, strategies and tactics must be evaluated in the context of the real-world constraints experienced by farmers. We investigated the linkage between farmers' pest management behaviors, attitudes, and constraints by analyzing an extensive corn pest management survey distributed throughout Wisconsin in 2002. Our objectives were to (1) create a benchmark against which future changes in pest management practices could be detected and (2) explore potential associations between practices and farm characteristics, e.g., farm size or commodity produced. A total of 213 farmers responded with descriptions of their operations; weed, insect, and disease pest management practices; crop consultant usage; interactions with their local agrichemical dealer; and attitudes regarding pest management decision-making. We compared the relative responses of cash-grain and dairy farmers as well as managers of large and small farms. Larger farm size and percentage of operation in cash-grain production were associated with an increased frequency of rotating crops, rotating herbicide families, and use of a broadcast herbicide application. Managers of large farms and/or cash-grain crops also more frequently indicated considering the level of pest control, price, carryover potential, weed resistance management, environmental safety, and risk to the applicator than did dairy or small-sized operations. Cash-grain farmers had significantly higher scores on a calculated IPM index than did dairy farmers (P < 0.0001). We also found a significant positive relationship between farm size and IPM score (P < 0.0001). Our results provide a benchmark for future comparisons of IPM adoption rates in Wisconsin and highlight the association between IPM research/extension and farmers' management behavior.
Nomenclature: corn, Zea mays L.
Additional index words: Integrated weed management, survey.
Abbreviations: CPMS, corn pest management survey; HRC, herbicide-resistant crops; MP, most productive; USDA, United States Department of Agriculture.