Economic thresholds (ETs) are a foundational principle of integrated pest management but are not always widely accepted by farmers and agricultural professionals. This article reports on a survey of Minnesota farmer and agricultural professional perceptions of the ET for soybean aphid, Aphis glycines Matsumura (Hempitera: Aphididae). We discuss insights for Extension programs on how to frame the importance of thresholds and teach stakeholders to use them effectively. Key takeaways include farmers and agricultural professionals often worry about combined effects of insect, disease, and physiological pressures, whereas effects of interactions with these other stressors are seldom discussed in educational outreach. Across groups, there is a fundamental misunderstanding about the difference between ETs and economic injury level. Many survey participants reported believing in the ET but lacked the time and capacity to fully implement it. Sales agronomists and farmers were the least likely groups to trust the university-determined soybean aphid ET, whereas commercial pesticide applicators and independent consultants were the most likely groups to trust it. Based on these results, we recommend adapting communication about ETs based on the target audience to address common misconceptions and barriers to ET use that are unique to each group.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Author(s).
- IPM communication
- audience assessment
- economic injury level