Educational Materials and Training that Foster Implementation of Ecologically Based Pest Management Decision-Making in Great Lakes Apple Production

Final Report for LNC01-186

Project Type: Research and Education
Funds awarded in 2001: $63,117.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2004
Matching Non-Federal Funds: $23,500.00
Region: North Central
State: Michigan
Project Coordinator:
David Epstein
Michigan State University
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Project Information

Summary:

Site specific monitoring by properly trained scouts is paramount to implementing holistic apple management systems, but a shortage of these professionals is an impediment to wide-scale adoption of sustainable practices. Training is needed that approximates hands-on field experience and that enables new scouts to see the changes that occur in orchard pest management over a complete growing season. This program developed a 90 minute DVD concerning all aspects of apple orchard scouting that will be beneficial in reaching an audience that learns best through seeing and hearing physical demonstrations of information. These materials will allow scouts to go out on their own sooner with more confidence and ability.

Introduction:

Rapid changes are occurring in apple pest management systems in the Great Lakes region. Novel technologies and control tactics that de-emphasize broad-spectrum pesticide use, while advancing sustainable agricultural practices, are making management systems more complex and information-intensive. Concurrently, the development of new pest monitoring devices, protocols, and economic treatment thresholds is continually evolving.

A program of regular orchard scouting is the cornerstone of pest management decision-making in any sustainable apple production system (Samson 1987, Ferrentino 1992, Higley and Pedigo 1993, Zalom 1993). Pest management decision-making based on orchard ecology includes site specific information on key pests and beneficials, and tree phenology and health. Growers and agricultural consultants need to be updated on recent advances.

Recruitment and training of new scouts is also an ongoing process. Each year, the need for trained scouts far exceeds the availability of such individuals. Scouting is seasonal work requiring long hours during the growing season, with periods of unemployment during the winter months. High employee turnover plagues the industry, and the need exists to train new scouts yearly. Manuals and pest identification guides are useful, necessary tools for training scouts, but most professionals agree that actual field experience is the most effective teaching method. Unfortunately, learning the vast complex of arthropod and disease pests found in Great Lakes region apple orchards cannot be accomplished in one, two, or even several trips through an orchard. Living biological systems change with time over the growing season.

Training is needed that approximates hands-on field experience and that enables new scouts to see the changes that occur in orchard pest management over a complete growing season. The DVD this program developed will be beneficial in reaching out to an audience that learns best through seeing and hearing physical demonstrations of information. These materials will allow scouts to go out on their own sooner with more confidence and ability to assist in making environmentally and ecologically sound management decisions.

Project Objectives:

Objective 1: Utilize a grower/consultant/research/extension advisory panel to develop a state of the art, educational training program in sustainable pest management for apple growers and the agricultural professionals who assist them in managing their farm enterprises. This will include the design and production of a training video for use by growers, consultants, scouts, and input supply company field staff. On-farm video footage will include identification of key pests and beneficials and appropriate monitoring protocols. Identification of pest damage to the apple fruit, foliage, wood, and roots will be included. Professional video and sound technicians will be hired for the production process.

Objective 2: Conduct workshops utilizing the new educational resource materials for the grower/industry community. The video will be available for use at educational workshops, extension libraries, classroom settings, and for recruitment and training of new consultants/scouts. The video will be evaluated through a series of workshops.

Cooperators

Click linked name(s) to expand
  • Jeff Andresen
  • John Bakker
  • Larry Gut
  • Amy Irish-Brown
  • Jim Koan
  • Jim Laubach
  • Peter McGhee
  • Doug Murray
  • William Shane
  • Mark Whalon
  • John Wise

Research

Materials and methods:

The process of producing the DVD is fully discussed under the accomplishments/milestones section of this report.

Appendix 2.
Evaluation Report Prepared by Jean Haley

Introduction
After receiving funding through USDA’s North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education grant program, Michigan State University contracted Haley Consulting Services LLC (HCS) to provide evaluation services for the project titled Educational Materials and Training that Foster Implementation of Ecologically Based Pest Management Decision-Making in Great Lakes Apple Production. Short-term project outcomes were described in the original grant proposal as:

• Videos will be made available through extension libraries, organized workshops, and colleges.
• Video and CD-ROM will reach an audience of 1000+ viewers, including growers, educators, crop consultants, scouts, input supplier field representatives, university extension specialists, college students, potential scouts, and residential fruit growers.
• Crop consultants, agricultural extension specialists, and input suppliers will use the materials to recruit and train new scouts.

This evaluation report provides a summary of evaluation activities that were conducted to measure the above outcomes. In addition to measuring the above outcomes, HCS and project management made the decision to look more closely at the process that was undertaken to produce the video. Providing an understanding of what went into the production of the video and how project participants were able to actually achieve their desired outcomes offers participants and funders an opportunity to document some critical “lessons learned” that can be applied to future, similar efforts.

Report Organization
Following a section on methods used to collect evaluation data is a brief description of the project background. The background serves to set the stage for the rest of the report, which is primarily made up of the results section. A conclusion is provided after the results. The appendices contain all data collection instruments and an interim report on focus group results.

Methods
HCS undertook three main evaluation activities for the Apple Scout Training DVD project:
1. Grower / Consultant / Scout Focus Group. Conducted in December 2003, a three-hour focus group of 11 apple growers, consultants and scouts provided constructive feedback on an early working draft of the training video. The meeting started with a brief overview and history of the project, given by David Epstein, principal investigator for the project. After his presentation, David was asked to leave the room so that participants would be encouraged to more freely express their comments and feedback. David’s presentation was followed by a viewing of the DVD in its entirety. Participants used a workbook to take notes and rate the clarity of the various sections during their viewing. They were given some guidance as to what could be changed and what could not be changed at that stage of production. For example, it was no longer possible to get additional video footage, but it would be possible to insert still photographs and graphics. At the end of the viewing, the meeting participants discussed each section, the rating they gave it, and suggestions they had to improve the product.

Workbooks were collected from participants at the end of the focus group, ratings for each section of the DVD were entered into a statistical package, and distribution statistics were calculated. Any additional comments that were provided in their workbooks that were not discussed during the focus group were added to the database. Comments from the group discussion that were recorded on flip chart paper were transcribed and summarized. See Appendices E1 and E2 for a complete report of the focus group results and a copy of the workbook.

2. Workshop Participant Feedback. During the winter of 2003-2004, project representatives attended seven regional grower meetings throughout Michigan where apple production was a focus. At these meetings the DVD was presented to audiences that numbered between 15 and 100 participants. After two of these sessions where the DVD was presented and discussed, participants were asked to complete a very brief feedback form. The total number of completed forms was 45 out of approximately 123 people in attendance at the two meetings surveyed (37 percent response rate). Data from these feedback forms were entered into a statistical package and frequencies were run. Open-ended questions were coded by hand and summarized. See Appendix E3 for a copy of the feedback form used at these meetings.

3. Key Player Interviews. As the focus group and workshops were being prepared for evaluating the Apple Scout Training DVD, it became clear that a lot of valuable evaluation information would not be collected if we were to focus solely on measuring desired outcomes. While it is extremely important to remain results-driven while implementing a project, it is often equally important to focus on process during the evaluation. Without the closer look at process, valuable lessons-learned remain undocumented and wheels then need to be reinvented by others attempting to accomplish similar goals.

During the spring of 2004, HCS conducted eight interviews with key players from the project. Each person answered the same seven questions and conversations lasted between 10 and 25 minutes, depending on the level of detail of responses and the level of involvement in the project. Results from these interviews contribute substantially to the results presented in this report as well as the structure for presenting results. Please see Appendix E4 for a copy of the interview guide that was used to conduct the interviews and a list of interviewees. Those who participated in interviews were guaranteed anonymity to encourage more freedom to express their views. As such, no names are linked to specific comments in the report.

Project Background
While there was one individual who stands out as the leader and coordinator of this project, from its very inception, what has come to be known as the Apple Scout Training DVD was a team effort. The idea for an educational video that could be used to train apple production field scouts was conceived during a Michigan farm tour in the summer of 2000. John Bakker, a scout for more than 30 years, and at the time the director of Westcentral Michigan Crop Management Association, was speaking to participants about the difficulties in training and retaining good field scouts. He mentioned during his presentation that extension publications are helpful, but that actual field experience is the most effective training method. Unfortunately, learning the vast complex of pests found in apple orchards cannot be accomplished in one, two, or even several trips through an orchard. John dreamed of the day when there was some sort of video program that had actual film footage of the various pests and diseases found in the orchards throughout the growing season that he could use to train his scouts.

Also participating in the tour that day were David Epstein, the Tree Fruit Specialist with the MSU Integrated Pest Management Program, and Jean Haley, an evaluation specialist. While still on the tour, these three people put their heads together to figure out a way to give John’s vision shape and make it a reality. Funding was secured in 2001 from the North Central Region of Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education through the diligent efforts of David Epstein who spearheaded the grant writing effort. David brought together key players at Michigan State University and the industry to design the project and build a budget. Once funding was secured, work on the project began in earnest. The final version of the DVD was produced in the spring of 2004, some three years later. Along the road were trials and triumphs and many lessons learned. The following section on Results provides the story behind the DVD, a kind of “making of” for the project. Within the story, results from the focus group and workshop feedback are provided as appropriate.

Results
Key player interviews provided an overview of the major steps involved in producing the final product for this project. Figure 1 on the next page illustrates these steps, which provides a straightforward chronological outline of the project. Following the figure is a brief description of each of the steps, the challenges faced by the project in achieving them, and lessons learned.

Project Coordination • Idea
• Recruit Key Players
o Flesh out project design
• Secure Funding
o Grant research
o Grant writing
o Contracts
• Establish Project Team
o Growers
o Consultants & Scouts
o University & Extension specialists
o Professional video crew
• Write video script
o Training from professionals on what makes a good video
o Outline content modules
o Assign writing to teams & individuals
o Compile, review & edit scripts
• Identify film shots
• Gather film footage
o Arrange for professional film crew to get shots in the field
o Collect shots with narrator in the field
o Set up network of consultants and agents to inform team when specific shots (e.g., pest populations) are in orchards that they work in
o Buy high quality portable camera to take advantage of opportunities of shots while working in the field
• Edit film footage
o Put together video based on script and shots
o Record and insert voice-over narration
o Insert still shots & graphics
• Review & edit rough cut
o Script writers’ review & edit
o Focus group with end-users
• Final edits
• Produce, market & distribute
o Presentations at all relevant meetings
o Publication in University Bulletin
o Advertising in relevant trade publications
o Use as course material for training workshops

Figure 1. Key Steps in Video Production.

Once funding has been secured for the project, the first order of business is establishing the project team. It was very important for this project that the team was made up of people from industry as well as the university. As one interviewee put it, getting “folks on the battle lines to contribute” was “critical to the quality of the product.” The other important team member for the project was a professional video company. There were, however, some difficulties with having the professional video company participate, not the least of which was the dissolution of the partnership between the two video company owners. In addition, the amount of time necessary to coordinate all the people involved and set up professional equipment in the field to gather footage was grossly underestimated. The team improved over time at scoping and prepping the site for the professionals, but they still ran into unforeseen problems such as rain and gusting winds. One other difficulty that arose was that the professional video crew was not available at a moment’s notice to run to a field where there might be a particularly good shot of an orchard pest. Shots with the professionals had to be scheduled in advance, which proved to be very difficult because of the relative unpredictability of pest outbreaks and weather. More on gathering footage will be discussed below.

During the early negotiations and meetings with the professional video company, discussions on the media format took place. The decision was made to create a DVD instead of a VHS video, which was the original format proposed. The professionals made strong arguments for the DVD format, which is more versatile than VHS, which was described as “going the way of the 8-track tape player.”

After putting together the project team and deciding on the media format, the next order of business is getting the script written. It was emphasized by most of those interviewed that this was one of the most important and most challenging aspects of the project. The professional video crew trained project members on what makes a good video and the basic elements of writing a script. Script writers for the project participated in full day meetings to hash out together the content of the video and outline the modules. Once modules, or topic sections, were agreed upon, writing assignments were given to small teams and individuals. Further meetings were held to review and edit draft scripts. The project coordinator, David Epstein, compiled the scripts into one document so that specific film shots could be identified. More than one participant mentioned that identifying shots prior to heading into the field was of critical importance. Having the script written first dictates exactly what shots need to be collected and just how long they should last. There were a few instances where the script was edited after the shots were collected and the team found themselves wishing they had had a few more seconds of a specific shot to better fit the running time of the narration.

Three interviewed participants offered the suggestion of having a video camera set up during these writing and editing sessions so that they could record drafts of the script and review how they looked and sounded on screen. Having never done such a project before, they did not really know how some things looked or sounded when projected on a television. One participant described some of the early drafts of portions of the script as text written for a thesis, “just plain boring!” Knowing that they really wanted to engage the viewer, highly academic writing was not the ideal. Having a camera on the spot to record and review may have helped with this earlier in the process. In addition to the sound of the text, it would have been beneficial for the narrator to have an opportunity to practice and review what he looked like on film prior to having to take final shots in the field. Having the benefit of seeing what he looked like on screen in advance would have helped him better understand and execute some of the direction given by the professionals during the filming.

Gathering the film footage was far more complicated than project organizers thought it would be. At the beginning of the project, the team anticipated that the professional film crew would be collecting all of the footage. It became quickly evident that this would not be possible. Using the professional film crew was cumbersome and time consuming. The first problem was the need to schedule shoot dates and times with the professional crew in advance. When dealing with a natural system, this was not going to be possible for all situations. In addition, the amount of time to set up a shoot was considerable. To deal with the issue of timing, the project invested in a high quality camera that the coordinator kept in his vehicle at all times. During the season, when he was out in the field, he could then take advantage of opportunities to film specific pests and orchard conditions. Team members who are field scouts, consultants and agents alerted the coordinator when they came across any of the pests or field conditions on the shot list. Operating as a team in this fashion, they were able to capture some excellent examples of pests and diseases for the final product. It should be noted that despite difficulties with the specific company that was hired, the general consensus among interviewed participants is that a professional video company should be involved in this process because their knowledge and expertise in what makes a good video is invaluable and something that no one else in the project had.

Once all the footage was collected from the field, the video was put together based on the script. The number of hours involved in this process was again grossly underestimated by the project team. The project coordinator estimated that for every minute of video in the final product, he alone put in approximately 52 hours of work. This estimate included all hours spent from beginning to end, from funding to marketing the final product. The hours spent with the professional video crew were considerable as they had to edit down two years worth of film footage, insert voice-over narration, locate and insert still photographs, create and insert graphics, and make sure that the whole thing flowed and had continuity from start to finish.

After a rough cut, or working draft, was completed, the project team reviewed the video in its entirety as a group. During this viewing they looked for typographical errors in any of the graphics that were added, and they listened to the voice-over narration to make sure that it was clear and engaging. Some edits were made to this version before it was taken to a focus group of potential end users. The focus group as conducted in December 2003 with 11 apple growers, consultants and scouts. Overall, focus group participants were very impressed with the DVD and expressed that they thought it would be a useful tool for them and the industry. Growers, scouts and consultants alike could envision using the DVD to train newly hired scouts. While they did notice some repetitiveness between sections of video, they did not find this to be much of a problem since they would likely use the DVD as it was intended—a resource to be viewed at specific points during the season.

Three major themes emerged during the discussion period, two of which became the slogans for each section:
• Name it – show it! The group felt that if a particular pest or beneficial was important enough to be discussed in the narrative, then it should be shown on the screen.
• Show it – label it! In the same way, if a pest or beneficial is going to show up on the screen, then it should be labeled. The group rallied together with these two battle cries whenever they came across something that had been named and not shown or something that had been shown and not labeled.
• The final theme that emerged during the discussion called for including one last brief summary at the end of each section to highlight key points. Participants suggested that a bulleted list would work well for this.

It should be noted that the focus group participants gave each of the 21 modules (including the introductory module on how to use the video) consistently high scores. On a scale from 1 to 10, where 1 is not clear and 10 is extremely clear, averaged scores ranged from 8.21 to 9.39, indicating that any additional changes made would further enhance a product that was already very good. For a complete copy of the focus group report, see Appendix E1.

Considerable time and effort was taken to incorporate the “show it” and “label it” suggestions wherever possible. This included tracking down and inserting photographs, creating and inserting captions, improving and creating graphics, and where possible, additional video footage. The suggestion of adding a summary at the end of each module was not incorporated due to time and budget constraints. The video was already at 95 minutes, 35 minutes longer than originally planned, and the addition of a summary for each section would have made it even longer still. Additionally, the video was never intended to be viewed in its entirety, as it was for the focus group. The intent is for it to be used as a resource during specific times of the season, so that viewers could pull up specific modules to study. When used in this manner, the need for a summary at the end of every section becomes unnecessary.

During the final editing process, the project took advantage of regional grower meetings that take place during the winter months to present and market the training DVD. At two of these meetings, feedback was collected from audience members to gauge how useful they thought the video would be for their industry and whether or not they personally would be able to make use of it in their work. The video was also promoted at three of these regional meetings by having the DVD running continuously on a monitor set up at an educational booth for visitors to view.

Feedback from the two meetings was highly favorable with nearly three-quarters of respondents (74 percent) stating that they felt the DVD would be extremely useful for the apple industry. Only three percent said they felt it would be not useful. Additionally, 76 percent expressed that they would be able to personally use the DVD in their work. When asked how they would use the DVD, the 43 percent described using it in some form of training or education for others, 33 percent described using it to educate or further train themselves, 19 percent mentioned using it as a reference tool and one person wrote, “use as information for decision making.”

Conclusion
The project” Educational Materials and Training that Foster Implementation of Ecologically Based Pest Management Decision-Making in Great Lakes Apple Production” was successful on many levels, including achieving the short-term goals outlined at the beginning of the project. The DVD is being made available through the Extension Bulletin, workshops and the University. It has already reached an audience of nearly 1,000 viewers, including growers, educators, crop consultants, scouts, input supplier field representatives, university extension specialists, college students, and potential scouts. In addition, regional meeting participants who were surveyed stated that they would be able to use the video to train current and new scouts.

In addition to achieving the outlined goals, the project paved the way for more training videos of this caliber to be developed for other crops throughout the country. The lessons leaned by the dedicated project team members will help others who set out to produce a similar product. One of the final interview questions was, “If someone else were to produce a similar DVD in another crop, what three pieces of advice would you give them?” The top three responses were that the project must have a strong, dedicated coordinator who is capable of organizing and facilitating groups, a professional filming organization should be involved in the project, and enough time and money should be budgeted to complete the project. One this last point, project members estimated that they underestimated the amount of time necessary to complete the product by as much as 100 times, and the budget was underestimated by approximately $16,000. Additional money had to be found elsewhere in order to complete the project with the level of quality desired. One other strong piece of advice offered was that similar projects should involve both university and industry specialists working together. Both informed the process and the product in unique and important ways. All team members who were interviewed mentioned at some point during the interview that, despite many difficulties, they all enjoyed the project very much.

Focus Group

To test the beta-version of the DVD, a three-hour focus group was conducted on December 11, 2003 in Grand Rapids, Michigan at the Great Lakes Fruit and Vegetable Expo. To encourage participants to attend a meeting being held at the end of a long week of meetings, the project provided bag lunches and drinks. (One of the participants brought his own apple cider to share with the group.) Eleven potential end-users were invited to participate in a focus group. Prior to the meeting, seven of the 11 were identified apple growers, and four were consultants and scouts. The meeting was attended by nine people who self-identified as:

• 5 growers
• 2 grower / scouts
• 1 consultant / scout
• 1 unknown (did not specify)
Complete anonymity was guaranteed to the meeting participants so that they would be encouraged to comment freely on the content and usefulness of the DVD.

The meeting started with a brief overview and history of the project, given by David Epstein, principal investigator for the project. After his presentation, David was asked to leave the room so that participants would be encouraged to more freely express their comments and feedback. David’s presentation was followed by a viewing of the DVD in its entirety. Participants had a workbook to use to take notes and rate the various sections during their viewing. They were given some guidance as to what could be changed and what could not be changed at that stage of production. For example, it was no longer possible to get additional video footage, but it would be possible to insert still photographs and graphics. At the end of the viewing, the meeting participants discussed each section, the rating they gave it, and suggestions they had to improve the product.

Initially, there were some difficulties getting the room set up; facilities management had not provided the extension cords and tables that were needed. These items were scavenged from other rooms and hallways, and participants were good sports to help acquire tables and set them up.

The DVD was run from a laptop computer that was hooked up to an LCD panel. The image was projected onto a large screen at the front of the room so that all meeting participants could easily see the picture. During the viewing, I sat in the back of the room and took notes. During the discussion, I took notes using the flip chart in the front of the room. Figure 1 shows the how the meeting room was set up during the DVD viewing.

Results Highlights
Overall, focus group participants were very impressed with the DVD and expressed that they thought it would be a useful tool for them and the industry. Growers, scouts and consultants alike could envision using the DVD to train newly hired scouts. While they did notice some repetitiveness between sections of video, they did not find this to be much of a problem since they would likely use the DVD as it was intended—a resource to be viewed at specific points during the season.

When asked how they thought it could best be distributed, everyone agreed that it should be advertised in the Fruit Grower News and extension bulletins. They mentioned that the distribution of the IPM scouting guide had worked well and recommended using the same strategy for the DVD.

Three major themes emerged during the discussion period, two of which became the slogans for each section:
• Name it – show it! The group felt that if a particular pest or beneficial was important enough to be discussed in the narrative, then it should be shown on the screen. Specific examples are given below in the section by section discussion.
• Show it – label it! In the same way, if a pest or beneficial is going to show up on the screen, then it should be labeled. The group rallied together with these two battle cries whenever they came across something that had been named and not shown or something that had been shown and not labeled.
• The final theme that emerged during the discussion called for including one last brief summary at the end of each section to highlight key points. Participants suggested that a bulleted list would work well for this. The drawback to this suggestion is that for 21 sections of the DVD, this could potentially add significant time to the overall production.

Conclusions and Recommendations

With a range of average clarity scores from 8.21 to 9.39, the production team should be commended on creating such a clear training DVD. As stated earlier, the overall impression of the DVD is that it is very professional and that it will be useful to growers, consultants, and scouts alike.

The overall mantras of the focus group participants should be taken to heart: If it’s important enough to mention, it’s important enough to show; and if it’s shown, it should be labeled. Some specific examples are given in the individual sections above, but the entire video should be reviewed to identify other examples where thumbnails, stills and labels would be helpful.

Bulleted reviews at the end of each of the modules should be incorporated into the video. Despite the amount of time this might add to the overall length of the DVD, the group felt this would be very helpful.

Among the individual modules, the Growing Degree Day Modeling section received the most enthusiastic conversation. The first few paragraphs of the script should be reviewed and clarified so that viewers come away from this section feeling that GDD modeling was explained. Refer to the specific comments above for more in-depth comments on how to improve this section.

Future workshops with growers, consultants and scouts should either be lengthened to four to five hours or truncated to cover only portions of the DVD so that ample time is available for discussion.

The short-term project outcomes were described in the original grant proposal as:

• Videos will be made available through extension libraries, organized workshops, and colleges.
• Video and CD-ROM will reach an audience of 1,000+ viewers, including growers, educators, crop consultants, scouts, input supplier field representatives, university extension specialists, college students, potential scouts, and residential fruit growers.
• Crop consultants, agricultural extension specialists, and input suppliers will use the materials to recruit and train new scouts.

If the production team is able to incorporate these suggested improvements to the DVD and produce a final product by early 2004, then it is anticipated that the short-term project outcomes will be achieved by early summer 2004.

Research results and discussion:

Objective 1: Utilize a grower/consultant/research/extension advisory panel to develop a state of the art, educational training program in sustainable pest management for apple growers and the agricultural professionals who assist them in managing their farm enterprises. This will include the design and production of a training video for use by growers, consultants, scouts, and input supply company field staff. On-farm video footage will include identification of key pests and beneficials and appropriate monitoring protocols. Identification of pest damage to the apple fruit, foliage, wood, and roots will be included. Professional video and sound technicians will be hired for the production process.

A grower/consultant/research/extension advisory panel was formed and held a series of six full-day meetings from November 2001 through March 2002. Major portions of the work on designing and scripting video footage were completed during this time period. Future Media Corporation, a professional video company located in Okemos, Michigan, provided the project team with scriptwriting software, and participated in the scriptwriting sessions to provide their technical expertise. The advisory panel consisted of three independent crop consultants, one apple grower, two advisors from Future Media Corporation, two MSU extension specialists, six MSU entomologists, an IPM communications specialist, a pesticide safety educator, and an MSU agricultural meteorologist. An executive committee comprised of L. Gut, J. Wise, P. McGhee, and D. Epstein reviewed and edited all scripts to maintain narrative continuity between the different modules.

Future Media Corporation began filming video and sound footage with project team members in April 2002. Future Media personnel present on video shoots included a sound engineer, a cameraman, a teleprompter operator, a director, and a technician. All shoots were done on location in various Michigan apple orchards. The team was presented with many challenges in coordinating shoots involving specific plant and insect phenological events with cooperative weather and the schedules of all of the individuals involved. Nature did not always cooperate with our scheduling of field activities two weeks in advance of the anticipated event. As a result of poor weather conditions during several scheduled shoots in 2002, some footage was missed and some that was taken under conditions of high winds, rain, or unfavorable lighting needed to be recaptured during the 2003 season in order to provide the highest quality finished product.

Author Affiliation
Andrea Coombs MSU Dept. of Entomology
David L. Epstein MSU IPM Program/Dept. of Entomology
Larry J. Gut MSU Dept. of Entomology
Eric Hoffmann MSU Dept. of Entomology
Peter McGhee MSU Dept. of Entomology
Mark Whalon MSU Dept. of Entomology
John Wise MSU Dept. of Entomology
Jeff Andresen MSU Dept. of Geography
Amy Irish-Brown MSU Extension
William Shane MSU Extension
Rebecca Hines MSU Pesticide Safety Ed. Program
James Laubauch HortSystems, Inc. Traverse City, MI
Doug Murray Murray Pest Mgmt, Paw Paw, MI
John Bakker Westcentral MI Crop Mgmt. Assoc.
Jim Koan Grower, Al-Mar Orchards, Flushing, MI
Table 1. DVD script authors and their affiliations.

Video Script Author(s)
I. Topics discussed early in video
1) How to use the video Epstein, Gut
2) Why scout McGhee, Koan, Irish-Brown
3) Preparing for the season, site survey McGhee, Koan, Irish-Brown, Epstein, Gut, Wise
4) Weather monitoring Andresen, Nugent, Epstein
5) Pesticide safety Hines
II. Seasonal scouting
6) Green tip Bakker, Laubach, Murray
7) Tight cluster to pink Bakker, Laubach, Murray
8) 1st Bloom to Petal Fall Bakker, Laubach, Murray
9) Petal fall Bakker, Laubach, Murray
10) Summer Bakker, Laubach, Murray
11) Pre-harvest Bakker, Laubach, Murray
III. Modules requiring more detailed information
12) Degree Day models & decision making Gut, Wise, Epstein, Andresen
13) Disease monitoring: Scab Shane, Irish-Brown, Epstein
14) Disease monitoring: Fire Blight Shane, Irish-Brown, Epstein
15) Moth trapping Gut, Wise, Epstein, McGhee
16) Monitoring internal worms: CM & OFM Gut, Wise, Epstein, McGhee
17) Monitoring Oblique Banded Leafroller Gut, Wise, Epstein, McGhee
18) Monitoring Apple Maggot Gut, Wise, Epstein
19) Monitoring Plum Curculio Whalon, Coombs, Hoffman, Gut, Epstein
20) Monitoring Tarnished Plant Bug Whalon, Epstein
21) Biological control Gut, Wise, Epstein
Table 2. Scriptwriting for “A Practical Guide to Scouting Apple Orchards”

In response to the challenges involved with collection of video footage, a professional quality DVD recorder was purchased with funds obtained from Michigan State University. The new camera allowed the project team the freedom to capture needed video footage that did not necessitate FMC’s involvement for sound or in-field demonstrations. David Epstein kept the camera in his vehicle so that it was available during all routine trips to the field. Much of the video footage spanning four months, of tree phenology, pest and natural enemy activity, and other orchard activities was captured using the newly acquired recorder. Between the recordings by FMC and MSU, more than 20 hours of footage was captured for this video over a two-year period.

Major portions of the video involve an onscreen “instructor” (Peter McGhee) speaking to the audience as he demonstrates and discusses numerous scouting techniques in the orchard. All of these shots were filmed by FMC, and were accomplished with the use of a teleprompter displaying scripted dialogue as Mr. McGhee spoke to the camera. Other sections of the video use voice over narration, where Mr. McGhee is off-screen. The voice over narration work was done in the studios of Future Media Corporation, and was largely completed in 2003, with some sections re-recorded due to technical problems in winter of 2004.

Looking to exploit recent advances in media technology that will facilitate use of this video, the advisory panel has targeted a DVD format as the final end product. The DVD format enhances the use of graphics along with video footage, and allows users to view the video as a whole or to access discrete informational modules within the video for in-season viewing of information specific to certain time periods by simply clicking on an icon in the menu. With DVD, there is no forwarding or rewinding as is necessary with videotape. Enabling users to view the video in this manner facilitates access to information on important seasonal monitoring activities, broadening the video’s appeal as an in-season tool.

The first round of post-production editing was completed in November of 2003 for the DVD to be displayed and beta tested at the Great Lakes Fruit, Vegetable, and Farm Market Expo in Grand Rapids, MI in December 2003. The beta test on December 11, 2003 in Grand Rapids was a 3-hour focus group conducted by Ms. Jean Haley of Haley Consulting Services. Nine potential end users (6 growers, 1 scout, and 2 consultants) viewed, evaluated, and provided feedback on video content and usability. Ms. Haley presented the project team with a report detailing the comments of the focus group participants (Appendix 2). Editing to incorporate the beta test results began in December 2003. A second focus group was conducted December 18, 2003 at MI State University. Three specialists from entomology, one from agricultural meteorology, one extension agent, and two independent crop consultants viewed the video and provided critical evaluation. David Epstein led this second focus group with evaluation materials and directions provided by Ms. Haley (Appendix 2). All post-production work, including formatting the DVD menu, instructional materials, and protective shell artwork was completed in February 2004. One thousand DVDs were replicated and are currently available through the MSU Bulletin Office (MSU identification # DVD-273) (http://web2.msue.msu.edu/bulletins/inventorysearch.cfm) for $29.95. “A Practical Guide to Scouting Apple Orchards” is 95 minutes in length and is formatted into 21 tracks. The first four tracks address the essentials of developing a scouting program, including the types of information a scout should supply to the grower, site-specific weather monitoring, and pesticide safety. The next six modules fall under the major heading of “scouting through the season.” Each provides information on what a scout should be looking for during weekly scouting trips at various times of the year. The three private crop consultants on the project team are the primary authors on the seasonal scouting modules. Following the scouting through the season sections, are 10 modules that give detailed information on topics requiring more in-depth discussion, such as how to use degree-day models, monitoring primary disease and insect pest organisms, best practices in moth trapping, and biological control. All of these topics are discussed during the scouting through the season modules, but are singled out here for more detailed discussion.

Objective 2: Conduct workshops utilizing the new educational resource materials for the grower/industry community. The video will be available for use at educational workshops, extension libraries, classroom settings, and for recruitment and training of new consultants/scouts. The video will be evaluated through a series of workshops.

The DVD was beta tested on December 11, 2003 in Grand Rapids. This workshop was a 3-hour focus group conducted by Ms. Jean Haley of Haley Consulting Services. Nine potential end users (6 growers, 1 scout, and 2 consultants) viewed, evaluated, and provided feedback on video content and usability. Ms. Haley presented the project team with a report detailing the comments of the focus group participants (Appendix 2). A second focus group was conducted December 18, 2003 at MI State University. Three specialists from entomology, one from agricultural meteorology, one extension agent, and two independent crop consultants viewed the video and provided critical evaluation. David Epstein led this second focus group with evaluation materials and directions provided by Ms. Haley (Appendix 2).

The DVD developed through this project is being used to train growers and agricultural professionals in the most recent sustainable agricultural pest management practices in apple farming. These tools are also being used to recruit and train new scouts. This training is being achieved in a number of ways. A companion project, currently funded for three years (2002-2005) at MSU, to train new scouts through classroom and field training is utilizing the finished video in its training sessions. Students in these classes view time appropriate DVD modules to coincide with classroom training. MSU researchers and extension personnel are also using A Practical Guide to Scouting Apple Orchards to train new field staff. Feedback from this group has been that the DVD has been invaluable in quickly familiarizing new field staff with the work they will be performing. The DVD will also be used in training sessions at the annual MSU Tree Fruit IPM School (115-130 participants). Two agricultural instructors, one at MSU and one at Central Michigan University have requested copies for their undergraduate instructional programs.

Research conclusions:

Project Outputs: One thousand copies of a 95 minute video, 40 copies distributed to colleagues and 800 made available for distribution through the MSU Bulletin Office (DVD-273) (http://web2.msue.msu.edu/bulletins/inventorysearch.cfm), associated publications as appropriate, 2 evaluation workshops in Michigan (7 and 9 participants in each), and 6 training workshops at regional grower meetings in Michigan (30-200 participants in each) (table 3).

Project Outcomes:

Short-term:
• Videos are available through extension libraries, organized workshops, and colleges.
• 200 DVDs sold
• To date, DVD has been presented to an audience of 1000+ viewers, including growers, educators, crop consultants, scouts, input supplier field representatives, university extension specialists, college students, potential scouts, and residential fruit growers.
• Crop consultants, agricultural extension specialists, and input suppliers are using the materials to recruit new scouts, and to train existing and new employees and scouts.

Long-term:
• Improved pest monitoring skills in the grower and agricultural professional communities
• Increased number of trained scouts, consultants, and growers
• Improved knowledge and awareness of the role of beneficial arthropod and disease organisms
• Implementation of sustainable management practices that reduce pesticide risk/use
• Conservation of biological control organisms in orchard agro ecosystem

Economic Analysis

This project produced a 95 minute educational DVD to promote the adoption and implementation of IPM practices based on real-time field monitored information. SARE funds were used for all aspects of DVD production, with the majority of those funds covering the costs associated with studio and in-field filming, sound recording, and editing involving Future Media staff, equipment and facilities. Leveraged funding was obtained from MI State University for the purchase of a professional-grade recording camera, and to cover DVD authoring, programming, mastering, replication, and packaging costs. These later costs were incurred in order to keep the final sale price of the DVD at a level the advisory team believed was affordable to the target audience, $29.95. Had the MSU Bulletin office, as planned, incurred these costs, the final DVD sale price would have exceeded $45.00.

The practical application of the information supplied in this DVD should help apple growers produce quality fruit while reducing unnecessary and/or ill-timed pesticide applications.

Farmer Adoption

To date, the DVD has been presented to an audience of 1000+ viewers, including growers, educators, crop consultants, scouts, input supplier field representatives, university extension specialists, college students, potential scouts, and residential fruit growers. An additional 800 growers have read the DVD script presented in the MSU Fruit CAT Alert.

The project team has received much feedback from growers, consultants and extension personnel on the DVD since its release. Bill Erwin, a fruit grower in South Lyon, MI, was part of a workshop group that viewed and provided feedback on the DVD. “It will be a valuable tool to novices and professionals,” said Erwin. “It gets right to the point! I really liked the video photography of the various pests. For me it was much easier to make them out than in the usual paper photographs.”

Jim Laubach a private crop consultant and contributing script author in northwest MI says that the DVD will be invaluable for his company’s (HortSystems) scout training program. “This type of information has not been available before,” said Laubach. “This is the first tool I am aware of that details a program of orchard monitoring in a visual format. My new scouts will now have the opportunity to view what they will be scouting for that week in advance of going out to the orchard.”

Jim Koan of Almar Orchards was one of the growers who served on the development team. “I am really excited about this new DVD,” said Koan. “I think that this is the best IPM tool that MSU has ever put out. From the novice to the expert, MI apple growers will be able to use this DVD to better understand what is going on in their orchards at any particular time of the year.”

Participation Summary

Educational & Outreach Activities

Participation Summary

Education/outreach description:

David Epstein made presentations of the video at the Western Orchard Pest and Disease Management Conference (200 researchers, consultants, and industry members) in Portland, OR on January 15, 2004, at the Northwest MI Orchard Show (225 growers, extension personnel, and industry members) on January 20, 2004, Manistee County Growers meeting (30 growers and extension personnel), January 21, 2004, Southwest MI Hort Days (125 growers, extension personnel, and industry members), February 4, 2004, and the Fruit Ridge Spring Growers Meeting (300 growers, extension personnel, and industry members), April 17, 2004. John Wise presented the video at the Benze- Manistee Horticulture Meeting (75 growers, extension personnel, and industry members), on March 12, 2004, and Larry Gut presented the DVD at the Southeast MI Spring Horticulture Meeting (65 growers, extension personnel, and industry members), in Flint, MI, on March 12, 2004. Jean Haley was present at the NW Orchard Show presentation and surveyed that audience’s response, as well as the audience response at the Manistee meeting in January (Appendix 2).

Meeting Location Presenter Date Audience
Western Orchard Pest and Disease Mgmt Conference Portland, OR D. Epstein 1/15/04 200 researchers, consultants, and industry members

Northwest MI Orchard Show Traverse City, MI D. Epstein 1/20/04 225 growers, extension personnel, and industry members

Manistee County Growers meeting Manistee, MI D. Epstein 1/21/04 30 growers and extension personnel

Southwest MI Hort Days Benton Harbor, MI D. Epstein 2/4/04 125 growers, extension personnel, and industry members

Fruit Ridge Spring Growers Meeting Sparta, MI D. Epstein 4/17/04 300 growers, extension personnel, and industry members

Benze- Manistee Horticulture Meeting Thompsonville, MI J. Wise 3/12/04 75 growers, extension personnel, and industry members

Southeast MI Spring Hort Meeting Flint, MI L. Gut 3/12/04 65 growers, extension personnel, and industry members

Presentations of “A Practical Guide to Scouting Apple Orchards.”

The DVD was also displayed over three days at the Great Lakes Fruit, Vegetable, and Farm Market Expo in Grand Rapids, MI, December 9-11, 2003, and for one day at the SW MI Hort Days meeting in Benton Harbor, MI on February 4, 2004. The DVD played continuously on a monitor at a booth promoting the MSU scout-training program. A list of people interested in purchasing the video was compiled with the understanding that they would be notified when the DVD became available through the MSU Extension Bulletin Office. As a result of this exposure, two agricultural instructors, one at MSU and one at Central Michigan University have requested copies for their undergraduate instructional programs.

Articles describing and promoting the DVD have been included in the January 2004 edition of the Great Lakes Fruit Growers News (2 articles), The Fruit Grower, The Good Fruit Grower, The MSU Project GREEEN Newsletter, the MI Apple Committee 2004 Newsletter, the MSU Fruit Crop Advisory Team (CAT Alert) newsletter (2 articles), and in the MSU IPM Program winter newsletter. The DVD is also featured on the MSU IPM website (http://www.ipm.msu.edu/CAT04_frt/F03-30-04.htm#9), the MI Agricultural Experiment Station website (month of May 2004) (http://www.maes.msu.edu/), and the MSU Project GREEEN website (month of May 2004) (http://www.greeen.msu.edu/), and is listed in the Great Lakes IPM Products catalogue (IPM products company). The MSU IPM website contains short DVD clips for website visitors to view. These articles and websites generated numerous calls and emails requesting copies of the video. These names were added to the list started at the Great Lakes Expo, and these individuals were notified when the DVD became available through the MSU Extension Bulletin Office. Two hundred DVDs were sold in the months of April-May, 2004. Additionally, approximately 40 DVD copies were sent to extension colleagues within Michigan and in other apple producing states in April 2004.

During the 2002 through 2004 seasons, the script prepared by the project team was adapted and utilized as part of a series articles in the Michigan State University CAT Alert. The CAT Alert newsletters are also posted on the web (http://www.msue.msu.edu/ipm/fruitCAT.htm), which is accessed by many of the fruit growers in Michigan and surrounding states

Article CAT Alert Publication
“Time to start up your apple scouting program” Vol. 17, No. 2, April 9, 2002
“Weather monitoring considerations” Vol. 17,No. 2, April 9, 2002
“Pest monitoring in apple from bloom to petal fall” Vol. 17, No. 4, April 30, 2002
“Using pheromone traps to monitor moth activity” Vol. 17, No. 1, March 26, 2002
“Degree day model for Oriental fruit moth” Vol. 17, No. 5, May 7, 2002
“Scouting through the season: Petal fall” Vol. 17, No. 6, May 14, 2002
“Monitoring fire blight” Vol. 17, No. 7, May 28, 2002
“Apple pest monitoring through the summer months” Vol. 8, No. 13, July 9, 2002
“Prepare now for your 2003 orchard scouting program” Vol. 18, No. 1, April 1, 2003
“Time to start up your apple scouting program” Vol. 18, No. 2, April 15, 2003
“Pest monitoring in apple from bloom to petal fall” Vol. 18, No. 3, April 29, 2003
“Selection and deployment of pheromone traps to monitor moth activity in orchards” Vol. 18, No. 4, May 6, 2003
“Plum curculio monitoring identification and phenology model” Vol. 18, No. 5, May 13, 2003
“Scouting through the season: Petal fall” Vol. 18, No. 6, May 20, 2003

“Apple scouting through the summer months” Vol. 18, No. 9, June 10, 2003
“Monitoring apple maggot in apple orchards” Vol. 18, No. 12, July 1, 2003

Project Outcomes

Recommendations:

Areas needing additional study

It has been suggested by several growers and extension agents that a printed workbook paralleling the information in the DVD, but with more background information than could be provided in the DVD due to space and time considerations, would be a beneficial companion piece.

Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.