Tree Fruit Research & Extension Center

Apple IPM Transition Project

Survey Results

2007 Field Season Consultant Survey

The first set of surveys went out to apple industry consultants in July 2008. The results are now available for viewing online here or you can download the report. Another consultant survey went out in January of 2010 asking about practices during the 2009 field season. The results of that survey are now available for viewing by clicking the link to the left.

Consultant Survey Results
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Summary of Results

A survey of tree fruit industry consultants was sent out in July 2008. The survey measured levels of insecticide use, IPM practice adoption, and consultant opinions on and perceptions of the transition to alternative pest management systems during the 2007 growing season. The survey response rate was 57% (40 out of 73 mailed out; 3 were ineligible) and represened close to 80,000 acres of apple orchards. Consultants identified other professional consultants, the WSU Decision Aid System, WSU researchers, and conferences, workshops or seminars as the most important sources of information in helping them make recommendations to their clientele.

Consultants surveyed made pest management recommendations on a mean of about 1950 acres of apples, about 10% of which was managed organically and 5% which was in transition to organic certification. Consultants also provided recommendations on a mean of 415 acres of cherries, 370 acres of pears, and smaller acreages of apricots, grapes, peaches, nectarines, prunes, and plums. Ninety-five percent of respondents were male, and 75% were between 30 and 49 years of age. Two-thirds had had parents who farmed during their childhood, and two-thirds had a four-year college degree.

While codling moth was identified as the pest that caused the most damage or most resulted in consultants making control recommendations (97.5%), woolly apple aphid, rosy apple aphid, thrips, campylomma and spider mites were also ranked as important (>50%). Most consultants (67%) indicated that codling moth was a pest of concern every year and 94% indicated that it would cause 6% or more crop loss if not controlled for a year. Most consultants (92.5%) recommended Guthion as part of their codling moth control program and over half also recommended use of Imidan. Consultants were about equally split as to whether use of organophosphate insecticides (OPs) had increased, decreased or remained about the same compared to the previous three years. Most thought that codling moth damage had increased (40%) or remained about the same (47.5%) compared to the previous three years and fewer thought damage had decreased (12.5%). 95% of consultants indicated that the cost of codling moth control had increased relative to the previous three years. Consultants recommended a variety of insecticides regarded as alternatives to OPs. The most common alternatives were Assail, pheromones, oil, CM-virus, Entrust, Rimon and Intrepid. Consultants reported that field monitoring for damage, pheromone traps, degree-day models and resistance management strategies were the most often used IPM tactics.

Leafrollers were identified by only half of the consultants as being a pest that caused noticeable crop damage, resulted in high production costs, or made production more difficult, and only 30% of consultants indicated that leafrollers were of concern every year. The risk of crop loss by leafrollers was not as great as with codling moth; however, 82% thought crop loss would exceed 3% if controls were not applied for one year. The only OP used for leafroller was Lorsban and 80% of the consultants reported recommending this product. However, none of the consultants indicated an increase in their recommendations for Lorsban use relative to the previous three years, and 37.5% indicated they had reduced the frequency of Lorsban recommendations. Only 10% of consultants indicated that leafroller injury had increased over the past three years but most (57.5%) thought that costs had increased. Numerous OP alternatives were reported as being recommended for leafroller control, including Success, Proclaim, Intrepid, Entrust, Bt, Rimon and Esteem. Consultants reported that field monitoring for damage, resistance management strategies, degree-day models, and economic or treatment thresholds were the most often used IPM tactics.

Not all consultants knew the last year that Guthion could be used, nor did they correctly identify how it would be restricted during the phase-out period. This indicates that there is room for more education around this issue. Overall, consultants expressed confidence in the use of OP alternatives for codling moth control. While consultants were concerned that both the costs and control of codling moth would become more difficult and riskier after the Guthion phase-out, they agreed that WSU research has developed good information on alternatives to Guthion. Consultants did not think that the costs of leafroller control would be higher after the phase-out of Guthion or that this pest would be more difficult to control. Most consultants (75%) indicated that they would be interested in more training on the use of Guthion alternatives to manage pests. These results indicate that the PMTP is heading in the right direction – providing needed training and resources to help the apple industry adopt alternative technologies. A second and expanded consultant survey will be sent out for the 2009 season and results compared with the previous survey.

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. The graphs show generally more abbreviated question and answer wordings with no non-response counts noted. The graphs for leafroller results are accompanied by graphs from parallel codling moth questions for purposes of comparison. Finally, respondent comments that were written into the questionnaires are noted in the footnotes below each table.

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