Submitted to: Ag Bioethics Forum
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/24/2010
Publication Date: 1/24/2010
Citation: Harrington, J.E., Byrne, P.F., Peairs, F.B., Nissen, S.J., Westra, P., Ellsworth, P.C., Fournier, A., Mallory-Smith, C.A., Zemtra, R.S., Henry, W.B. 2010. Perceived Consequences of Herbicide-Tolerant and Insect-Resistant Crops on Integrated Pest Management Strategies in the Western United States: Results of an Online Survey. Ag Bioethics Forum Vol. 12(3&4)Article 16. Pages 1-17. Interpretive Summary: The purpose of this work was to determine opinions of agricultural professionals, i.e., growers, researchers, educators, consultants, and administrators, in both the public and private sectors concerning the potential effects of herbicide-tolerant (HT) and insect-resistant (IR) crops on integrated pest management (IPM) practices in the Western United States. The perception of the survey participants was that for HT crops, there was a decrease in both crop and herbicide rotations and other weed control strategies. The resulting concern was that this would lead to a shift in weed species composition and the development of herbicide-resistant weeds. For IR crops, respondents perceived a beneficial decrease in the amount of insecticides used. Much like the HR crops, there is a significant concern that insects will also develop resistance to the IR crops. Over-reliance on a single method of pest control will enhance the selection pressure for pests resistant to HR and IR crops. The survey results support the need for enhanced IPM education programs to prolong the usefulness of HT and IR crops.
Technical Abstract: We conducted an online survey to assess the potential effects of herbicide-tolerant (HT) and insect-resistant (IR) crops on integrated pest management (IPM) practices in the Western United States. For HT crops, participants perceived a decrease in several IPM practices, including crop and herbicide rotations and the combined use of multiple weed control strategies. The most serious potential consequences were considered to be a shift in weed species composition and development of herbicide-resistant weeds. For IR crops, respondents perceived a beneficial reduction in application of both broad-spectrum and selective insecticides. The most significant issues for IR crops were believed to be potential development of target pest resistance and difficulties with management of insect refuges. The survey results support the need for enhanced IPM education programs to prolong the usefulness of HT and IR crops.