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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: GENOMICS, GERMPLASM DEVELOPMENT AND IPM OF HOP Title: Perceptions of risk, risk aversion, and barriers to adoption of decision support systems and integrated pest management: An introduction

Authors
item Gent, David
item DE Wolf, Erick -
item Pethybridge, Sarah -

Submitted to: Phytopathology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: June 30, 2010
Publication Date: January 31, 2011
Citation: Gent, D.H., De Wolf, E., Pethybridge, S.J. 2011. Perceptions of risk, risk aversion, and barriers to adoption of decision support systems and integrated pest management: An introduction. Phytopathology. 101:640-643.

Interpretive Summary: Rational management of plant diseases, both economically and environmentally, involves assessing risks and the costs associated with both correct and incorrect management decisions to determine when control measures are warranted. Decision support systems can help to inform users of plant disease risk and thus assist in accurately targeting events critical for management. However, in many instances adoption of these systems for use in routine disease management has been slow. Growers’ perceptions of risk and their aversion to these perceived risks can be impediments to greater adoption of decision support systems and, more broadly, integrated pest management (IPM). Incorporation of growers’ subjective perceptions or risk into IPM recommendations may be one means to reduce grower uncertainty and trust. Ultimately though, we suggest that an appropriate measure of the value and impact of decision support tools is grower education that enables more skillful and informed IPM decisions independent of consultation of the support tool outputs.

Technical Abstract: Rational management of plant diseases, both economically and environmentally, involves assessing risks and the costs associated with both correct and incorrect management decisions to determine when control measures are warranted. Decision support systems can help to inform users of plant disease risk and thus assist in accurately targeting events critical for management. However, in many instances adoption of these systems for use in routine disease management has been slow. The under-utilization of some decision support systems is likely due to both technical and perception constraints that have not been addressed adequately during development and implementation phases. Growers’ perceptions of risk and their aversion to these perceived risks can be impediments to greater adoption of decision support systems and, more broadly, integrated pest management (IPM). Decision theory provides some tools that may assist in quantifying and incorporating subjective and frequency-based prior probabilities of disease occurrence or crop loss into decision support systems. Incorporation of subjective prior probabilities into IPM recommendations may be one means to reduce grower uncertainty and improve trust of these tools because management recommendations could be informed by growers’ perceptions of risk. Ultimately though, we suggest that an appropriate measure of the value and impact of decision support tools is grower education that enables more skillful and informed IPM decisions independent of consultation of the support tool outputs.

Last Modified: 12/26/2014
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