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Title: Cotton nitrogen management in a high-residue conservation system: nitrogen source, rate, application method and application timing

Author
item JAYARATNE, K.S.
item GASKIN, J
item LEE, R
item Reeves, Donald
item HAWKINS, G

Submitted to: Journal of International Agricultural and Extension Education
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/26/2007
Publication Date: 10/26/2007
Citation: Jayaratne, K.U., Gaskin, J.W., Lee, R.D., Reeves, D.W., Hawkins, G. Cotton nitrogen management in a high-residue conservation system: nitrogen source, rate, application method and application timing. Proceedings of 23rd Annual Meeting AIAEE 2007, Polson, Montana, May 20-24, 2008.

Interpretive Summary: Over the years, USDA-ARS and university scientists have conducted much research on the benefits and management of conservation tillage systems; consequently, adoption of these systems promotes environmental sustainability. The adoption of technologies and management practices from this research, and its consequent impact is made possible in large part by USDA Cooperative Extension System agents becoming knowledgeable of the research and transferring the technologies and information to producers. In-service training programs are typically used to educate extension agents as a means to diffuse conservation tillage practices. However, changing extension agents’ attitudes is a commonly overlooked factor in planning in-service training programs. A cooperative effort between USDA-ARS scientists at Watkinsville, GA and Auburn, AL, and the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension System, explored the significance of attitude in conservation tillage systems in-service training for all 95 agricultural and natural resource (ANR) extension agents in Georgia. The training evaluation showed that agents’ have favorable attitudes towards conservation tillage systems and have fairly high levels of motivation in delivering conservation tillage extension programs, but that the level of motivation varied with the levels of education and extension experience. Changing extension agents’ attitude proved more important than improving their knowledge in order to motivate them to deliver conservation tillage extension programs. This information can be used by researchers and extension specialists to improve technology transfer and the impact of agricultural research programs.

Technical Abstract: Conservation tillage systems are promoted in many parts of the world to help achieve environmental sustainability in agriculture. In-service training programs are used to educate extension agents as means to diffuse conservation tillage practices. However, changing extension agents’ attitudes is a commonly overlooked factor in planning in-service training programs. Exploring the significance of attitude in conservation tillage systems in-service training is the focus of this study. The target population for this study included all agricultural and natural resource (ANR) extension agents in Georgia. This study received 62.3% response rate. Findings indicate that the agricultural extension agents’ have favorable attitudes towards conservation tillage systems and have fairly higher level of motivation in delivering conservation tillage extension programs. Their level of motivation varies with their levels of education and extension experience. Partial correlation analysis confirmed that there was a positive significant correlation between extension agents’ knowledge and their motivation to present conservation tillage programs. However, there was an even stronger positive correlation between extension agents’ attitudes and their motivation to present conservation tillage systems programs. This finding concludes that the changing extension agents’ attitude is more important than changing their knowledge for achieving desirable outcomes of conservation tillage in-service training programs. The results of this study and the review of literature support the notion that changing extension agents’ attitudes is an important determinant of motivating them to deliver conservation tillage extension programs. Therefore, it is important to focus on attitude as an important training factor in planning in-service training programs.