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Measuring Progress in the Adoption of IPM

Survey of sweet-corn growers provides data

The "continuum of IPM" refers to the incorporation of IPM methods, starting with a chemically based, calendar spray program and moving to one that is information-based and relies on biologically intensive methods. Growers of any cropping system can measure their progress in the adoption of IPM by calculating their position along this continuum.

In 1997, progress in the adoption of IPM was measured through a survey of fresh-market sweet corn growers, conducted as a collaborative effort with the NYS Agricultural Statistical Services. Two hundred six growers were asked 14 questions about their IPM practices. These questions were related to the "elements" of IPM as defined by growers, processors, retail food distributors, and Cornell University (figure 1).

As can be seen in table 2 below, more than one-tenth of the 206 growers have adopted 80 percent or more of all IPM elements. This group has progressed far along the IPM continuum. One-hundred and seventeen additional growers have adopted 50-80 percent of the IPM elements, showing a high degree of adoption but with some room for improvement. The remaining 30 percent may not have been able to more fully adopt IPM practices because their operations are not near sites where IPM methods have been demonstrated.

Data from the survey helped the IPM Program by revealing that future educational outreach efforts need to emphasize weed mapping, nutrient testing before sidedressing additional fertilizer, and accurate record keeping.

Table 2. A Measure of Fresh-Market Sweet-Corn Growers Using IPM Methods

% IPM Elements Adopted

# Growers Using IPM Elements

90-100%

9

80%

17

70%

26

60%

52

50%

39

40%

34

30%

10

0-20%

19

 

[Total growers = 206]