Growers Improve IPM Skills at Cooperative ISUE/Dealer Meetings

Clarke McGrath, crops field specialist, Southwest Iowa


During the 2003 growing season, high levels of a new soybean pest, Soybean Aphid (SBA), caused tremendous confusion and high yield losses throughout southwest Iowa.  Varying economic thresholds and insecticide efficacy information from Midwest land grant universities, seed companies, chemical companies, and agronomists created inconsistent recommendations to producers and variable control of the fields that did get treated.  In addition, thousands of acres that met the eventually agreed upon thresholds did not get treated.  Most university experts' yield loss estimates indicated a statewide average loss of 8 bu/a soybean yield to the SBA in 2003 in untreated, infested fields.


The ISU Southwest Iowa Extension Area held many educational events, both independently and cooperatively with ag service providers that were focused on or included sessions on SBA.  Identification, life cycle information, management tips, and most importantly, a consistent set of management guidelines were shared with hundreds of dealers, agronomists, government agency workers and farmers in our area from August 2003 through August 2004.  In particular, a success story can be shared about a series of meetings held with a local full-service ag product retailer at several of their locations in March 2004 with several big groups of their larger, more progressive growers.  The growers who attended these meetings, and filled out assessment sheets, indicated that they represented over 63,000 acres of southwest Iowa row crop production, about 1/2 of that being soybeans.  The ISUE crop specialist was the keynote presenter at meetings where he shared ISUE publications, PowerPoint slide shows, and question and answer sessions. 


At the conclusion of these meetings an assessment was done to determine if the right information was shared and the approximate value of that information to the growers.  All indicated that the information was valuable to their operation.  While not all attendees turned in an assessment sheet, those that did indicated a value of the information of an average of $23.65 per acre.  With the 31,500 acres represented in the assessments, the value of the ISUE information to the growers was $745,000.  While this was a small cross section of all the growers and ag industry professionals who attended soybean aphid update meetings in southwest Iowa during the past year, it shows the tremendous value of ISUE information to Iowa's economy.

September 2004
142 - Integrated Pest Management/Integrated Crops Management

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