October 2001 // Volume 39 // Number 5 // Ideas at Work // 5IAW1

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Scoring IPM Adoption in Ohio: It Really Adds Up

Ohio has developed Integrated Pest Management (IPM) definitions for over 20 major crops, including field crops, fruits, and vegetables. These crop definitions are actual criteria that allow growers and researchers to evaluate a selected crop production system and determine how many IPM practices the producer has adopted. There are six sections to complete, and points are awarded based on proper implementation for that particular crop. The goal for growers is to achieve 80% or more of the points in the crop definition.

Jim Jasinski
Integrated Pest Management Specialist
Vandalia, Ohio
Internet Address: Jasinski.4@osu.edu

Bruce Eisley
Research Associate
Columbus, Ohio
Internet Address: Eisley.1@osu.edu

Ted Gastier
Agriculture and Natural Resource Agent
Norwalk, Ohio
Internet Address: Gastier.1@osu.edu

Joe Kovach
IPM Coordinator
Wooster, Ohio
Internet Address: Kovach.49@osu.edu

Ohio State University Extension

IPM and the Need for Definitions

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) has been practiced for over 100 years, but earned its official title in the mid 1970's (Zalom & Fry, 1992). IPM is a pest management system in which several control strategies are employed to keep the pest (insect, weed, or pathogen) below an acceptable threshold while considering the economic and environmental consequences of those actions. In fact, IPM is embodied more often as a philosophy than as a specific set of practices. This notion is reinforced by the nearly 70 different definitions various researchers and organizations have given to IPM since its inception (Bajwa & Kogan, 1997).

In 1993, a cooperative program between USDA and land grant universities, the IPM Initiative, proposed a goal of 75% of the nations crop acreage to be managed according to IPM principles by the year 2000 (Jacobsen, 2000). Although the attainment of this goal is debatable, the discussion it generated necessitated that IPM practices had to be spelled out for each crop, so that a quantitative method for measuring adoption could be employed.

Ohio IPM Definition Process

Ohio plant agriculture is very diverse. The landscape is dominated by millions of acres of field crops, punctuated by pockets of fruit and vegetable production. Growers and researchers needed a tool to use to evaluate production systems for each major crop in terms of IPM practice adoption.

The Ohio State University IPM program modeled their crop definitions after programs at the University of Massachusetts and Cornell University (Hollingsworth & Coli, 1999; Petzoldt, Kovach, & Seaman, 2000). Each evaluation instrument was initially shaped from current IPM and best management practices selected from existing Ohio production guides, special bulletins, and fact sheets. These guidelines were then revised by 16 faculty from 4 departments to contribute to the final version of the crop definitions.

The following 21 commodities had IPM crop definitions designed for them:

  • Alfalfa,
  • Field corn,
  • Soybeans,
  • Wheat,
  • Apple,
  • Cherry,
  • Peach,
  • Pear,
  • Plum,
  • Cabbage,
  • Carrots,
  • Lettuce,
  • Peppers,
  • Pickles,
  • Potato,
  • Pumpkins,
  • Radishes,
  • Snap beans,
  • Squash,
  • Sweet corn, and
  • Processing tomatoes.

These definitions can be downloaded from Ohio State University IPM Web site at www.ag.ohio-state.edu/~ipm/element/index.htm.

The crop definitions themselves are all arranged in a similar manner. There is an introductory section explaining the purpose of the crop definitions and how to use the self-evaluation, and a short section on scoring the production system. Next is a table of the major pests (diseases, insects, and weeds) of the commodity in Ohio. The rest of the crop definition is divided into six sections:

  • Educational IPM considerations,
  • Pre-plant IPM considerations,
  • At-plant IPM considerations,
  • In-season IPM considerations,
  • Harvest IPM considerations, and
  • Post-harvest IPM considerations.

These sections contain specific practices and techniques for controlling the aforementioned pests, plus cultural practices, fertility, and site and plant hybrid selection guidelines. The recommended strategies are assigned a range of point values of low, medium, or high, with critical practices given a larger point value. After the last section, the evaluator can tally the scores of the six previous sections and determine where on the IPM continuum the production practices for a particular crop lie.

The goal for all growers is to continue to adopt crop-specific IPM practices. Growers obtaining 80% of the points in each section or 80% of the total crop definition points are recognized as making considerable strides toward that goal. For evaluated crops that do not achieve the goal of 80%, growers are encouraged to try some of the suggested IPM practices. One of the great features of this evaluation tool is that it identifies specific IPM production practices that growers can adopt for immediate improvement or, in the longer view, work toward adopting.

Currently only field crops, fruits, and vegetables in Ohio have formal definitions crafted. Similar instruments for turf, landscape, and schools are being developed as well. The IPM crop definitions are not meant to be a permanent set of guidelines to measure pest management adoption. As new production practices and management techniques evolve, these changes will be reflected in updated versions of the IPM crop definitions.


We wish to thank the following faculty for their contributions to the IPM crop definitions: M. Bennett, D. Doohan, A. Dorrance, M. Ellis, D. Feree, D. Funt, C. Hoy, P. Lipps, M. Loux, D. Miller, B. Precheur, L. Rhodes, R. Riedel, M. Watson, C. Welty, and H. Willson.


Bajwa, W. I., & Kogan, M. (1997). Compendium of IPM definitions. An electronic database. Available: URL:http://www.ippc.orst.edu/IPMdefinitions/

Hollingsworth, C. S., & Coli, W. M. (Eds.). (1999). Integrated Pest Management guidelines: crop specific definitions. University of Massachusetts Extension Integrated Pest Management Program, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA.

Jacobsen, B. J. (2000). USDA Integrated Pest Management initiative. In E. B. Radcliffe & W. D. Hutchison (Eds.), Radcliffe's IPM world textbook. University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN. Available: http://ipmworld.umn.edu/

Petzoldt, C., Kovach, J., & Seaman, A. (Eds.). (2000). Integrated Pest Management elements for new York crops. New York State Integrated Pest Management Program Publication Number 124. Cornell University, Geneva, NY.

Zalom, F. G., & Fry, W. E. (1992). Biologically intensive IPM for vegetable crops. pp. 107-166. In F. G. Zalom & W. E. Fry (Eds.), Food, crop pests, and the environment. St. Paul, MN: APS Press.