Communicating Carabids: Engaging farmers to encourage uptake of Integrated Pest Management.

A - Papers appearing in refereed journals

Jowett, K., Milne, A. E., Potts, S. G., Senapathi, D. and Storkey, J. 2022. Communicating Carabids: Engaging farmers to encourage uptake of Integrated Pest Management. Pest Management Science. https://doi.org/10.1002/ps.6878

AuthorsJowett, K., Milne, A. E., Potts, S. G., Senapathi, D. and Storkey, J.
Abstract

BACKGROUND: Natural enemy pest control (NPC) is becoming more desirable as restrictions increase on pesticide use. Carabid beetles are proven agents of NPC, controlling pests and weeds in crop areas. Agro-ecological measures can be effective for boosting carabid abundance and associated NPC, however the benefits of specific interventions to production are seldom communicated to farmers. We explore pathways to improved NPC by engaging farmers and increasing knowledge about Farm Management Practices (FMPs) beneficial to carabids using engagement materials. We used a questionnaire to measure awareness, beliefs, and attitudes to carabids and analysed these within a framework of the Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB), relative to a control group.
RESULTS: We found awareness of carabid predation to be associated with beliefs of pest and weed control efficacy. Within the framework of TPB, we found that current implementation of FMPs was higher if farmers perceived them to be both important for carabids, and easy to implement. This was also true for future intention to implement, yet the perceived importance was influenced by engagement materials. Field margins/buffer strips and beetle banks (16% and 13% of responses) were the most favoured by farmers as interventions for carabids.
CONCLUSION: The TPB is a valuable tool with which to examine internal elements of farmer behaviour. In this study self-selected participants were influenced by online engagement in a single intervention, proving this approach has the potential to change behaviour. Our results are evidence for the effectiveness of raising awareness of NPC to change attitudes and increase uptake of sustainable practices.

KeywordsAgri-environment schemes; Carabid beetles; Theory of planned behaviour; Conservation biocontrol; Questionnaire; Engagement
Year of Publication2022
JournalPest Management Science
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1002/ps.6878
Web address (URL)https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/ps.6878
Open accessPublished as ‘gold’ (paid) open access
FunderBiotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
Natural Environment Research Council
Funder project or codeASSIST - Achieving Sustainable Agricultural Systems
Smart Crop Protection WP1
S2N - Soil to Nutrition [ISPG]
NE/N018125/1 LTS-M ASSIST
Accepted author manuscript
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online22 Mar 2022
PublisherWiley
ISSN1526-498X

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