- Crop Production: application rate management
- Education and Training: workshop
- Pest Management: biological control, integrated pest management
This project was essentially an effort to engage farmers in biocontrol strategies by mobilizing biocontrol researchers to produce an educational tool on the subject for use in workshops. We had mixed results with this classical extension approach.
Organizing faculty to produce the new text was relatively straight-forward and produced a "state-of-the-art" book on biological control, specific to the Midwest. The full-color, 110pp book (A3842) is available to order for $15 or can be downloaded as a free PDF file at http://learningstore.uwex.edu
The book has been well-received and is clearly valued by farmers participating in the workshops (as observed at some of the workshops).
The addition of the workshops was a good next step, and the sessions drew considerable farmer interest. There were some general workshops that used the book, but for the most part, the text was used as part of workshops covering specific crop production horticulture approaches. Workshops targeted specific crops, such as cucurbit, apple, and alfalfa production, or were tailored for general production approaches such as organic or high tunnel.
Often, these workshops also used more specific bulletins (such as a bulletin on biological control in cucurbits) to direct growers to the specific information they needed. This indicates that the material in the book was more general in nature and therefore unable to completely serve a targeted audience.
This project targets North Central Region growers who have a farming goal of pesticide reduction, including organic growers. The primary short term outcome is the production of “Biological Control of Insects & Mites”. The intermediate outcome is to organize and offer workshops in multiple states, designed to use the book to increase farmer and other agricultural professionals’ knowledge on biological control. In addition to using the book for bio-control workshops, the publication will be targeted for distribution throughout the North Central Region states to provide farmers and others with an introduction to beneficial natural enemies and how they may be used in pest management. An electronic PDF file of the book will be available on-line for people to view and download at the UW Extension web site. Links to an electronic publication will be added to Wisconsin IPM websites that are managed by project participants. In addition to workshops in Wisconsin, Nebraska, Illinois, Iowa, Ohio, Indiana, and Michigan the publication would be used at the Upper Midwest Organic Farmers Conference, and other grower workshops where fruit and fresh vegetable growers assemble to learn about pest management strategies. Long-term outcomes would be increased use of biological control methods by organic growers and increased interest in advanced IPM strategies from conventional farmers.