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Integrated Pest Management

Clemson University IPM Guidelines Help South Carolina Cotton Growers

South Carolina cotton growers, who have adopted a moderate to high level of integrated pest management (IPM) practices recommended by Clemson University, reported higher yields and $57 per acre higher net returns than growers who did not follow the guidelines. The higher returns, directly attributable to grower adoption of Clemson IPM practices, translated to an overall annual return of $12.5 million to South Carolina cotton growers.

Those are some of the findings in a Clemson University survey of 162 South Carolina cotton growers to determine their adoption of IPM practices. NIFA, through a Southern Region IPM special projects grant, funded the survey.

Overall survey results show that a high percentage of South Carolina cotton growers have adopted a moderate to high level of recommended IPM practices.

Growers who indicated they “never or seldom” utilized Clemson IPM guidelines ranked lower on the IPM adoption scale compared with growers who “usually or always” followed the guidelines.

The survey was conducted at a time when state IPM coordinators and IPM program evaluators are facing an increasing demand for hard data on the payoffs resulting from public investment in IPM programs. Until recently, state IPM programs were evaluated based on aggregate numbers of outreach activities. However, with increasing competition for resources, research and extension programs will be evaluated according to the same criteria as other agricultural inputs (i.e., the value of the product must at least equal to the cost of the resources expended). Thus, there is a critical need to quantify the economic returns on dollars invested in IPM research and extension.

For more information about the Clemson University study, contact Geoff Zehnder. For more information about NIFA IPM programs, contact Michael Fitzner.


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