Farmer Survey Identifies Pest Management Trends, Needs and Information Source

Todd Vagts, Extension Crop Field Specialist, Northwest Iowa


Identifying the needs of clients is essential to a successful program. Identifying where clients look for information to address their needs is important to understanding the ever changing information sources currently available. With the changing structure of agriculture and increased information and services provided by industry, many of the traditional clients of ISU Extension are either gone or have changed the way they obtain and perceive information that's important for their business.


Surveys were issued to clients who directly receive information from ISU Extension through a local Extension newsletter and to the general farming audience at pesticide applicator recertification meetings in west central IA. The information gained provided an excellent comparison of how the client is receiving and retaining information and whether that information is received directly or through a non-direct mode. Additionally, localized pest management problems and practices were identified.

The survey asked questions in regards to 1) where information is obtained, 2) whether the person perceives a particular pest as a problem in their operation, 3) actions the person has taken in response to information or pests, and 4) actions the person intends to take in the future.


Responses from the survey indicate that:

Eighty-eight percent of the farmers that are direct recipients of the Crop Update newsletter indicated that ISU Extension is their #1 or #2 source for crop production and protection information, whereas 50% of farmers (who may not receive the extension newsletter) consider ISU Extension as their main source for information.
34% of farmers use the web when looking for ISU information, up from 26% in 2002.
Pest management trends and needs identified
79% of area farmers scouted for soybean aphid in 2003 but only 35% made an insecticide treatment for the pest.
Insecticide treatments applied for soybean aphid tended to go on 10%, 50% or 100% of the farmer’s acres, indicating the farmer was either experimenting with control options (10% acres treated), undecided (treated 50% acres), or wanted to completely eliminate the problem (treated 100% acres).
72% of the producers that directly receive my Crop Update newsletter feel they are adequately informed about the soybean aphid, whereas only 45% of the general farming community feels adequately educated about the aphid
Corn rootworm was less of a problem in 2003 vs. 2002 (10% vs. 16%) and in response fewer farmers plan to apply corn rootworm insecticides to 1st year corn in 2004 (30% vs. 40%).
The predominant weed concern in corn and soybean is Water Hemp and Woolly Cupgrass.


Dec. 16, 2004
142 - Integrated Pest and Crop Management

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