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Annual Reports

1995Statewide Pest Management Seminars

The UC Statewide IPM Project has been coordinating statewide pest management seminars since 1986 to provide IPM-based pest management information to growers and pest managers. In recent years, other organizations have been providing a large number of similar programs. This has given the IPM Project the opportunity to develop different types of programs that focus on building pest management skills through laboratory and hands-on sessions. Surveys of participants in these sessions indicated they were well received, but often were too generic because they did not focus on specific pests or crops. To address this concern, the concept of conducting commodity-specific pest management workshops was developed. The first of these was held in 1994 in two locations and dealt with urban landscape pest management. These workshops were very popular with participants because they focused on pests and pest-inducing conditions specific to managers of urban landscapes.

A special project grant from USDA made it possible for the IPM Project to examine the effectiveness of educational methods for pest management professionals during 1995. This grant, awarded to co-investigators Patrick Marer and Pete Goodell, funded a study to see how effective a training program can be in getting growers and PCAs to adopt IPM practices. A workshop to provide grape pest managers with skills needed to adopt IPM practices was held at the UC Kearney Agricultural Center on May 2. Ninety three grape growers, vineyard managers, PCAs, and researchers from grape-growing regions throughout California attended this 8-hour workshop. Five topics, including grape diseases, nematodes, insect pests, beneficials, and vineyard floor management were covered in lecture, laboratory, and field settings. Topics were coordinated by IPM advisors Jim Stapleton, Lucia Varela, Walt Bentley, Pete Goodell, Tim Prather, and Phil Phillips. They worked with a team of farm advisors including George Leavitt, Ed Weber, Roger Duncan, Rich Coviello, Mary Bianchi, Michael Costello, and Kurt Hembree and specialist Mike McKenry to develop the curriculum and provide training to participants.

In addition, IPM advisor Lucia Varela and Rachid Hanna conducted four mite identification workshops in Napa and Sonoma counties, attended by 60 growers, PCAs, vineyard managers, and workers. Information, resource materials, and handout materials used in all the workshops are being compiled into a syllabus that is intended to be a resource for farm advisors conducting educational programs in their local areas.

Pretest-Posttest Evaluation. A major emphasis of the grape pest management training project is the evaluation component, coordinated by Rose Krebill-Prather. Evaluation is being conducted in two phases: 1) a pretest-posttest evaluation to measure changes in knowledge and practices used in grape pest management resulting from workshop attendance; and 2) analysis of participant impressions of the usefulness and adequacy of the workshop. In both phases of evaluation, self-administered questionnaires are being used.

Preregistered workshop participants were asked to complete and return a questionnaire before attending the workshop. At the end of the grape growing season, participants will be surveyed again through a mailed questionnaire that will include replications of questions used in the pretest. These will be used to assess knowledge and behavior changes that have occurred from before and after the workshop. It is also likely that a control group will be surveyed. By including a control group, we will be able to better control for test effects and other factors that may have caused knowledge and behavior changes other than those which occurred from attending the workshop.

Among pretest respondents, about one fourth were PCAs, while over half were either owners or managers of vineyard acreage. Most respondents had worked with vineyards for 15 years or more. About one fourth dealt with less than 100 vineyard acres, while nearly a third had between 100 and 400 acres. An additional fourth dealt with at least 400 but less than 1000 acres. Six respondents indicated they worked with 1000 acres or more.

Several main reasons for attending the workshop were given by pretest respondents. About one third indicted that an increase in their general knowledge was their main motivation for coming. Another fifth indicted more specifically that increased knowledge of pests or pest management strategies was the main reason. One fourth of respondents indicted they wanted to update their knowledge or wanted the most current information on grape pest management.

The pretest revealed a considerable amount of information about the respondents' concern and knowledge of grape diseases, nematode problems, insect pests, and vineyard weeds.

Concern and Knowledge: Diseases. The majority of respondents indicted they were "very concerned" about the damaging effects of powdery mildew this season, however over half reported their level of knowledge on powdery mildew is only " moderate" or "a little." For both bunch rot and canker diseases, over half of the respondents indicated that they were either "moderately" to "very concerned" about the damaging effects this season. Furthermore, for both bunch rot and canker disease, a majority of respondents indicated their level of knowledge as "a little."

Concern and Knowledge: Nematodes. One fifth of the respondents indicated they were "very concerned" about the damaging effects of nematodes this season. However, nearly half indicated they were only "somewhat" or "not concerned." The remaining third have a moderate concern. No respondents indicated that they had "a lot" of knowledge about nematodes, while nearly half indicated their knowledge level as "a little" or "moderate."

Concern and Knowledge: Insects. Over half of the respondents indicated they were either "moderately" or "very concerned" about the damaging effects this season of the grape leafhopper and the pacific spider mite. Less than half of the respondents were either moderately or very concerned about variegated leafhopper and over half indicated that their level of knowledge about variegated leafhopper was "a little" or "none." In contrast, more respondents reported to have at least "moderate" knowledge about grape leafhopper and pacific spider mite.

Concern and Knowledge: Weeds. Respondents appeared to be most concerned about the damaging effects of johnsongrass, bermudagrass, and yellow nutsedge and least concerned about prickly lettuce and purple cudweed. More respondents reported that they were "very familiar" with cheeseweed, filaree, johnsongrass, bermudagrass, and yellow nutsedge. A greater number of respondents appeared to be less familiar with horseweed, prickley lettuce, and purple cudweed.

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