Tree Fruit Research & Extension Center

Apple IPM Transition Project

Survey Results

2009 Field Season Consultant Survey

The 2009 Field Season Consultant Survey was mailed out in January 2010. The results of that survey are now available for viewing online here or you can download the written report. The results of this survey will be compared to the 2007 Field Season Consultant Survey and compiled. A report of compariative findings will be posted when complete.

2009 Consultant Survey Results
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Summary of Results

This report summarizes descriptive data from an apple pest management survey of Washington State pest management consultants. This survey measured levels of insecticide recommendations, Integrated Pest Management (IPM) practice adoption, and pest management consultant opinions on the transition to alternative pest management systems during the 2009 growing season.

The survey was mailed in January 2010 to a list of apple pest management consultants (N=242) built from agricultural chemical distributor lists, packing warehouse lists, and pest consultant licensing lists from the Washington State Department of Agriculture, refined and confirmed by several industry leaders. The first mailing was followed by a reminder postcard and a second survey mailing to encourage non-responders to complete the survey by mail or on the web. The response rate was 60% (120 completed surveys returned out of 200 eligible participants), and respondents represented just over 225,000 acres of apple orchards. While there may be some overlap, as more than one consultant can provide recommendations on any given orchard block, the acreage nevertheless provides a fairly encompassing snapshot of Washington State’s apple acres.

Pest management consultants provided recommendations on a mean of 1,875 acres of apples, 13% of which were organic or in transition to organic, and 23% of which were managed conventionally but without use of organophosphate (OP) insecticides. Consultants also made pest management recommendations on a mean of 321 acres of cherries, 260 acres of pears, and smaller acreages of peaches, nectarines, apricots, prunes, grapes, pluots, and blueberries. Ninety-six percent (96%) of respondents were male, and 62% were between 45 and 64 years of age. Sixty-eight percent (68%) had parents who farmed during their childhood, and 77% had a four-year college degree or higher. Respondents identified the WSU Decision Aid System, WSU Crop Protection guide, other professional consultants, insecticide label information, WSU researchers, and conferences, workshops or seminars as the most important sources of information in helping them make pest management recommendations.

While codling moth was identified as the number one pest causing unacceptable crop damage in orchards (81%), woolly apple aphid was ranked as important by 47% of respondents. Ten percent (10%) of pest management consultants did not experience unacceptable crop damage in 2009. Thirty-four percent (34%) reported that codling moth caused unacceptable damage three years or more out of five, and 67% suggested that if no controls were applied for a year, s/he would experience 10% or more crop injury.

Most pest management consultants (83%) recommended Guthion in 2009 as part of their codling moth control program, 31% recommended Imidan, and 8% recommended Diazinon. Of these respondents, the most common numbers of applications recommended in 2009 were 2 for Guthion (61% of respondents) and 1 for Imidan and Diazinon (56% and 100%, respectively). Most respondents said their recommendations of OPs decreased (74%) or remained the same (21%) compared to the previous three years.

In terms of alternatives to OP insecticides, 98% of respondents recommended pheromone mating disruption for codling moth control in 2009, 83% recommended Delegate, 80% Altacor, 77% horticultural spray oil, and 74% Assail. Of these, the majority (83–96%) recommended 1–2 applications of the product. Other OP alternatives were also recommended. Most respondents reported that their overall recommendations of OP alternatives had increased (76%) or remained the same (17%) compared to the previous three years. Ninety-nine percent (99%) of respondents reported using pheromone traps to monitor for pests, including 7% who used the recommended 1 trap per 2.5 acres (or less), 39% who used 1 trap per 2.6–5 acres, and 45% who used 1 trap per 5.1–10 acres.

Pest management consultants’ most commonly recommended IPM tactics for codling moth control in 2009 (with percentage recommending the practice “often”) were field monitoring for damage (93%), pheromone traps (93%), degree-day models (90%), and resistance management strategies (83%), followed by economic or treatment thresholds (58%), border sprays (45%), and delayed distribution of bins in orchards (31%). Many respondents had increased their recommendations of resistance management (62%), pheromone traps (43%), field monitoring for damage (41%), border sprays (38%), and degree day models (38%) compared to the previous three years.

Overall, 68% percent of pest management consultants reported that codling moth injury had remained the same compared to the previous three years, 17% reported a decrease in codling moth injury, and 15% reported an increase. Eighty-seven percent (87%) indicated that the cost of codling moth control had increased relative to the previous three years.

Leafrollers were less of a concern among pest management consultants, with 69% stating that never or only less than once in five years did they experience unacceptable crop damage due to leafrollers. Twenty-nine percent (29%) suggested that if no controls were applied for a year, s/he would experience 10% or more crop injury.

To manage leafroller populations, 61% of pest management consultants recommended Lorsban, 5% Guthion, 4% Imidan, and 3% Diazinon. Of these, respondents most commonly recommended 1 application of Lorsban (94%), and 1–2 applications of Imidan (100%), Diazinon (100%) or Guthion (67%). Forty percent (40%) of respondents reported their recommendations of OP insecticides for leafroller remained constant compared to the previous three years, while 34% reported a decrease, 2% an increase, and 25% did not recommend OPs for leafroller.

In terms of alternatives to OP insecticides for leafroller control, consultants recommended a variety of products in 2009, the most popular of which were Delegate (75%), Intrepid (62%), Altacor (62%), and Entrust/Success (58%). Of these respondents, 93–97% recommended 1–2 applications of the product. Forty-five percent (45%) of respondents reported that their recommendations of OP alternative insecticides remained the same compared to the previous three years, 37% reported an increase, 12% reported a decrease, and 6% did not recommend OP alternatives for leafroller control.

Pest management consultants’ most commonly recommended IPM tactics for leafroller populations (with percentage recommending the practice “often”) were field monitoring for damage (86%), resistance management strategies (75%), and degree-day models (67%), each of which had increased among 23–44% of respondents compared to the previous three years. Forty-seven percent (47%) of respondents indicated that leafroller injury had stayed the same relative to the previous three years and 49% reported a decrease. Fifty percent (50%) indicated costs of leafroller control had increased and 39% indicated costs had remained the same compared with the previous three years.

Ninety-nine percent (99%) of pest management consultants knew that Guthion was being phased out, and 69% knew that its last year of use would be 2012. Fifty-two (52%) percent knew that the phase-out would affect only the amount of Guthion a grower could use (rather than the number of applications or timing for use). Seventy-two percent (72%) said they were in the process of reducing their Guthion recommendations, 16% had already stopped recommending Guthion, 6% had not yet reduced their recommendations, and 1% had never recommended Guthion.

Orchard pest management consultants expressed the most confidence in their knowledge of how to use or recommend of the following OP alternatives: pheromone mating disruption, Assail, Altacor, Delegate, and horticultural spray oil. The greatest barriers identified to using or recommending OP alternatives were cost (83%), secondary pest problems (73%), concerns about residues on exports (64%), effectiveness (54%), and confusion over timing (26%). Five percent (5%) of respondents said they did not face barriers to the use or recommendation of OP alternatives.

In terms of secondary pest problems in 2007–2009, many pest management consultants identified an increase in problems with wooly apple aphid (87%) and spider mite (68%), followed by rosy apple aphid (41%), stink bug (31%), rust mite (25%), and green aphid (13%).

With regards to pest monitoring and sprayer calibration, 84% of respondents reported being responsible for monitoring in the orchard, 38% relied on growers or managers for monitoring, 29% relied on other agricultural chemical distributor fieldmen, and 22% relied on farm employees. The biggest barriers to monitoring were lack of time (53%), high cost (37%), and lack of trained staff (33%). Fifty-six (56%) percent of pest management consultants recommended that growers calibrate their sprayer once a year, 19% twice a year, and 14% three times a year or more.

While most pest management consultants were concerned that the cost of codling moth would increase with the Guthion phase-out, and while many felt that growers were burdened and unconsidered with respect to the phase-out decision, they generally agreed that WSU research had developed good information on alternatives to Guthion and that these alternatives were effective and available. Most consultants felt that growers generally had good systems for training workers on pesticide safety and use, and that the training of workers should be the responsibility of growers rather than an outside organization.

In terms of educational resources, 90% of respondents reported using the WSU Decision Aid System, 34% knew about the AZM Stewardship Program run by the company MANA, 67% knew the USDA Environmental Quality Incentives Program provided cost-shares for IPM practices, 87% knew about the WSU Pest Management Transition Project (PMTP), and 45% had participated in a PMTP-run Implementation Unit. Sixty-two percent (62%) indicated they would be interested in more training on the use of Guthion alternatives to manage pests.

The following tabbed result sections present aggregated consultant responses to each question in both table and graph formats. The tables show full or slightly abbreviated question and answer wordings with non-response counts noted as 'missing'. The graphs show generally more abbreviated question and answer wordings with no non-response counts noted. Responses to open ended questions about the Guthion phase-out are reported in a stand alone section. Finally, respondent comments that were written into the questionnaires are noted in the footnotes below each table.

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