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Does It Matter Who Scouts?

  • Lichtenberg, Erik

Scouting is the most widely used integrated pest management (IPM) technique. It has been argued that only independent crop consultants provide unbiased scouting information. In contrast, chemical dealers inflate scouting reports and/or reduce economic thresholds in order to increase pesticide sales while farmers may use excessively low treatment thresholds due to risk aversion and/or overestimation of pest pressure. Since the majority of scouting is done by farmers and chemical dealer employees, it follows that scouting may not be a very effective means of reducing reliance on chemical pesticides. This study applies an implicit demand formulation of the Lichtenberg-Zilberman damage abatement model to data from a survey of Maryland field crop growers to examine differences in pesticide demand between growers using scouts trained and supervised by extension and those using chemical dealer employees or scouting themselves. Our results give partial support to those skeptical of the quality of scouting by farmers themselves and by consultants working for chemical dealers. We found that soybean growers using extension trained scouts had significantly lower pesticide demand than those using chemical dealer employees or scouting themselves. However, we found no significant differences in the pesticide demands for alfalfa, corn, and small grains. Since soybeans in Maryland are substantially more pesticide-intensive than corn, alfalfa, or small grains, these results suggest that it does matter who scouts when there is scope for substantial savings in pesticides.

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File URL: http://purl.umn.edu/28600
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Paper provided by University of Maryland, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics in its series Working Papers with number 28600.

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Date of creation: 2001
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Handle: RePEc:ags:umdrwp:28600
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  1. Alain Carpentier & Robert D. Weaver, 1997. "Damage Control Productivity: Why Econometrics Matters," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 79(1), pages 47-61.
  2. repec:jaa:jagape:v:29:y:1997:i:2:p:225-42 is not listed on IDEAS
  3. Alfons Oude Lansink & Alain Carpentier, 2001. "Damage Control Productivity: An Input Damage Abatement Approach," Journal of Agricultural Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(3), pages 11-22.
  4. Bryan J. Hubbell & Gerald A. Carlson, 1998. "Effects of Insecticide Attributes on Within-Season Insecticide Product and Rate Choices: The Case of U.S. Apple Growers," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 80(2), pages 382-396.
  5. Hubbell, Bryan J., 1997. "Estimating Insecticide Application Frequencies: A Comparison Of Geometric And Other Count Data Models," Journal of Agricultural and Applied Economics, Southern Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 29(02), December.
  6. Atanu Saha & C. Richard Shumway & Arthur Havenner, 1997. "The Economics and Econometrics of Damage Control," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 79(3), pages 773-785.
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