Location: Subtropical Plant Pathology Research2013 Annual Report
1a. Objectives (from AD-416):
1. Assist with the development of a chemical management database for AgScouter. 2. Hold training sessions to teach producers, crop advisors, Extension personnel, and scouts how to use AgScouter, with an emphasis of making AgScouter common use in Florida.
1b. Approach (from AD-416):
1) The chemical management module that will be developed as part of this grant is intended to assist growers and scouts in streamlining activities associated with scouting and making management decisions and create a “one-stop shopping” tool for scouts. Data compilation will largely be conducted by personnel at ZedX and information will be pulled from both online (e.g., CDMS.net, greenbook.net, etc.) and printed resources (e.g., University pest management handbooks). Within the database, the relevant information (e.g., crop labeling, labeled rates, restricted entry intervals (REI), post-harvest intervals (PHI), and the EPA registration number) will be extracted from pesticide labels and included as part of the database. Validation of the database for Florida production will be done by Gene McAvoy (University of Florida), and personnel at Red Gator Consulting and Glades Crop Care because of their extensive knowledge of the agriculture chemicals used in Florida. 2) Cooperator will assist in organizing workshops with the purpose of teaching the use of AgScouter. In addition, he will assist in conducting surveys to assess grower’s attitudes towards use of AgScouter. We will use a combination of attitudinal surveys and empirical data analysis to assess the impact of AgScouter on private and public costs associated vectored disease management. We will develop a survey to administer prior to and post implementation of the AgScouter. The initial survey (pre-implementation) will be given to participants at the beginning of the workshops that are planned as part of this grant and to control groups of decision-makers for each crop commodity who are not participating in the initial AgScouter adoption project. In addition to direct contact with our subjects we will use Survey Monkey, a popular online survey tool, with the assistance of the County Extension Director, Regional Vegetable/Horticulture Extension Agent IV, University of Florida, personnel at Glades Crop Care and Red Gator consulting firms. Coopertor runs a UF Extension listserv that reaches a large proportion of the industry in southwest Florida, and Glades Crop Care and Red Gator consulting firms have client databases to which they can send a survey. Questions regarding pesticide usage, and some of the negative impacts associated with excessive fungicide use will be posed to the subjects. A follow-up survey will be administered towards the end of the funding cycle where we anticipate that AgScouter would have been in use for over a year. Changes in attitude and behavior in the AgScouter-adopting group, compared with the background decision-making population may be apparent at this stage. The limitation to the approach is that over a short run of seasons true differences between the groups may not be detectable against the natural background variation in pest pressure and pesticide use.
3. Progress Report:
This research relates to in-house project objective 3: Develop or improve comprehensive integrated disease management strategies. Three cooperators have been enlisted to help evaluate the performance of AgScouter under field conditions, help develop the chemical management databases, and to assist with training sessions. The University of Florida is one of the collaborators. At the time of this report, the cooperator has become familiar with the updates to AgScouter, including use of the new mobile applications, but has not collected any validation data. This responsibility largely falls on the other two collaborators, Red Gator Consulting and Glades Crop Care. The development of the chemical management database is currently underway. The database will consist of all registered chemicals and the relevant information on the pesticide label for the crops included into the AgScouter system. Plans for on-site training sessions in both Florida and California have been discussed, but none have been planned. The University of Florida cooperator will play an integral part of coordinating the workshops in Florida. ARS PI communicates on regular basis with the cooperator via E-mail and telephone communication.