The value of insect management to US maize, soybean and cotton farmers

Terrance M. Hurley, Paul D. Mitchell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Most US maize, soybean and cotton farmers use Bt crops, insecticidal seed treatments, soil-applied insecticides, and foliar sprays to manage insect pests. Given the global economic importance of these crops, we examine farmer benefits of this insecticide use. Using a telephone survey, we document pest management practices and concerns, estimate adoption and farmer perceived values for these practices, and determine factors besides yield and cost that impact adoption and perceived value. RESULTS: Seed-based technologies (Bt seed, seed treatments) dominated insecticide use. Almost 80% of respondents' planted hectares used Bt crops and more than half used seed treatments, while about one-sixth used soil insecticides and one-sixth to one-third used foliar insecticides. Perceived farmer values per treated hectare were greatest for Bt cotton and foliar insecticides in cotton, especially after first bloom. Values for maize and other cotton insecticide uses were greater than for soybean. Aggregating over treated areas, the largest total values for each crop were for seed-based technologies. In addition to yield and cost, farmers showed significant concern for economic risk and human and environmental safety when making pest management decisions. These non-monetary concerns significantly affected the likelihood farmers used these practices and their perceived value. CONCLUSION: For these crops, seed-based insecticides dominate farmer insecticide use and the value they derive from insecticides. Because seed purchase is months before planting, farmers rely on risk-based integrated pest management to make pest management decisions, weighing both monetary and non-monetary factors when deciding whether the risks are sufficient to justify the use of insecticides.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4159-4172
Number of pages14
JournalPest management science
Volume76
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors wish to thank Michelle Broeske of the University of Wisconsin Nutrient and Pest Management Program for assistance with the graphical abstract. This research was funded in part by AgInfomatics, LLC of Madison, WI ( http://aginfomatics.com/index.html ) with financial support from AMVAC, BASF, Bayer, FMC, Syngenta, and Valent, as well as funding from the Minnesota State Agricultural Experiment Station project MIN‐14‐134 and the Wisconsin Agricultural Experiment Station project WIS01994. We acknowledge the insights of Gaylon Morgan and David Kerns on the timing of seed purchases by cotton farmers and the helpful comments of the editor and two anonymous reviewers.

Funding Information:
The authors wish to thank Michelle Broeske of the University of Wisconsin Nutrient and Pest Management Program for assistance with the graphical abstract. This research was funded in part by AgInfomatics, LLC of Madison, WI (http://aginfomatics.com/index.html) with financial support from AMVAC, BASF, Bayer, FMC, Syngenta, and Valent, as well as funding from the Minnesota State Agricultural Experiment Station project MIN-14-134 and the Wisconsin Agricultural Experiment Station project WIS01994. We acknowledge the insights of Gaylon Morgan and David Kerns on the timing of seed purchases by cotton farmers and the helpful comments of the editor and two anonymous reviewers.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Society of Chemical Industry

Keywords

  • Bt crops
  • factor analysis
  • insecticide seed treatment
  • integrated pest management
  • risk management
  • soil-applied insecticide

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article

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