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Communicating carabids: engaging farmers to encourage uptake of integrated pest management

Jowett, K., Milne, A. E., Potts, S. G. ORCID:, Senapathi, D. ORCID: and Storkey, J. (2022) Communicating carabids: engaging farmers to encourage uptake of integrated pest management. Pest Management Science. ISSN 1526-4998 (In Press)

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1002/ps.6878


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.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Agriculture, Policy and Development > Department of Sustainable Land Management > Centre for Agri-environmental Research (CAER)
ID Code:104213

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