a1 Bard College, PO Box 5000, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY 12504, USA.
a2 University of Massachusetts Amherst Cranberry Station, PO Box 569, East Wareham, MA 02538, USA.
a3 Department of Plant, Soil and Insect Sciences, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Amherst, MA, USA.
a4 Department of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Amherst, MA, USA.
a5 Simon's Rock College of Bard, 84 Alford Road, Great Barrington, MA 01230, USA.
A survey was developed and distributed to the Massachusetts cranberry grower community in 1999 to identify biological, educational, social and political barriers to the adoption of available integrated pest management (IPM) practices. The response rate for the 450 growers who received the survey was 54%. Approximately 80% of respondents claimed to practice IPM frequently and 16% identified themselves as occasional practitioners. Most growers practiced IPM because they agreed with IPM philosophy (80%) and believed it had environmental benefits (73%). Ninety-two percent agreed that more IPM-related research and education programs would encourage them to adopt practices they are not currently using. A significant percentage of respondents used multiple IPM component practices, with practices involving monitoring and detection of pests along with judicious use of pesticides being most common. Factor analysis was used to condense 104 potential responses to 22 factors, which were then used as predictors with six demographic variables (IPM adoption, education level, age, experience, farm size and work status). Demographic factors influenced a grower's tendency to incorporate IPM into routine farm activities. Full-time, highly experienced growers in charge of large operations tended frequently to use more IPM practices than less experienced growers who worked part-time and managed smaller farms. A large proportion of respondents agreed that IPM can reduce pesticide residues in food (92%) and the environment (96%), and can help to preserve beneficial insects (96%). Although many growers held the perception that IPM can pose measurable economic risk (and subsequently act as a barrier to adoption), growers appeared to feel less strongly about the economic benefits than potential environmental ones.
(Accepted July 04 2006)