Tree Fruit Research & Extension Center

Insect Ecology & Behavior Laboratory

Vince Jones' Research

 
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2013 Web Survey with previous years' comparisons
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Contents:


Survey Methods
Background /
Demographics
Orchard
Characteristics

Use of DAS

DAS Support

Impact of DAS

User Feedback

 

Survey Methods

An online survey of registered WSU-DAS users was conducted from July through September 2013. Of all registered DAS users, 377 participants responded to our survey. . Some graphs presented with the 2013 survey data show comparative results with the 2008 and 2010 surveys when survey questions were repearted.

User Background/Demographics

Most respondents were between 50 and 59 years of age (31%), 20.4% were 40-49 years old, and 24.7% indicated they were 60+ years of age. Figure 1 shows a comparison of the age distributions for each survey year. Eight-eight percent were male, and 99% were female with 1.9% declining to answer. Figure 2 shows that the gender ratios for each survey year remained about the same. Spanish was the first language for 9.8% respondents of the respondents, up 6.8% from the previous surevy. Figure 3 shows a slight shift in the user's primary language since 2010. The 2010 survey asked respondents if they would like to use DAS in Spanish if ithe option was available with a possitive resonse of 10%. By 2013 the Spanish option became available. DAS user database statistics indicated that only 3.6% of the users were using the Spanish version.

The majority (63.7%) of respondents had a 4-year degree or higher, followed by some college (11.9%), a 2-year degree (12.7%), high school/GED (7%), and trade school (1.4%). Figure 4 shows that the distrubution of educational background for DAS users remained stable over the three survey years.


Figure 1. Distribution of DAS user age.


Figure 2. Ratio of DAS user gender.


Figure 3. User's primary language being Spanish.


Figure 4. Distribution of user education level.

 

One again users were asked to characterize their experience with computer use by indicating the type of computer interaction. Figure 5 shows that use for email, web browsing an office applications (word processing and spreadsheets) remainedfairly constant. However, there has been a steady increase in the use of smart phones.   The self-described level of computer usage by user (Figure 6) remained consistant with that of the previous surveys with nearly three quarters (74%) of respondents describing themselves as average computer user, 11% as computer experts (a slight drop from the 17% in 2010, but similar to 2008), and 14.5% as novice (increased from previous years).


Figure 5. User computer experience (i.e., what they use computers or smartphones for).


Figure 6. User-described computer expertise level.

 

Respondents were asked when they first began using DAS. Figure 7 shows the addition of new users since 2010.

They were than asked to indicate the type of device they used for DAS (Figure 8). Desktop and laptop computers are used by 66% (78% in 2010) and 65% (same as 2010) of the survey respondents, respectively. In 2010 the use of smart phones/PDA’s more than doubled from 20% in 2008 to 45%. In 2013, the survey question was expanded to include the use of tablets in addition to smart phones with the percent usage being 22% and 40%, respectively.


Figure 7. Year respondent started using DAS.


Figure 8. Type of computer device used to access DAS.

 

The majority of the survey respondents were growers/orchardists (54.1% full & part-time), 32.5% were orchard managers, 19% worked as Ag Chem distributor consultants, 11% were Packinghouse or Company fieldmen, 10% worked in research and/or extension, 11% were private crop consultants, and 10% had other full-time or part-time occupations.


Figure 8. Type of full or part-time occupation of DAS user from 2008 to 2013.

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Orchard characteristics

The survey respondents from WA State provided pest control management or recommendations for an approximate total of 246,825 acres of tree fruit (ranging from 0 to 10,000 acres per user; Figure 9) in 3,350 orchards (ranging from 0 to 150 orchards per user, Figure 10). Of the respondents from WA State that provided management or recommendations, 79% did so for apples, 62% for pears, 48% for cherries, 24% for other stone fruit, and 9.5% for other crops (grapes, berries, wheat, fallow, nursery; Figure 11). Figure 12 shows the distribution of acreage by crop managed by all users combined. The data show a huge jump in the amount of apple acreage managed using the assistance of DAS since 2010.


Figure 9. Distribution of the size of orchards managed by users.

Figure 10. Distribution of the number of orchards each user manages.

Figure 11. Breakdown of the tree fruit crops under each user's management.

Figure 12. Total acreage of each crop under management by all users.

 

Figure 13 shows that the majority of survey respondents described their management practice as conventional (69%), followed by organic (31%), and other (28%; IPM, low-input IPM, soft IPM, mixed, sustainable). The fina general orchard/management description question asked users aproximately how far awy their orchard was from an AgWeatherNet (AWN) station. 57% of users indicated that they were at least 1 to 5 miles from a station and 31% were at most 1 to 5 miles away (Figure 14). However, many users indicated that they were over 6 miles away from a station.


Figure 13. Description of user's management practices.

Figure 14. Approximate distance between user orchards and an AWN station.

 

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Use of DAS

The year respondents began using DAS and the type of devise used to access DAS is described above in figures 7 and 8 under User Background and Demographics. Here we begin to describe the user experience with various aspects of the DAS website application. The first question in this section asked respondents to rank the level of ease (1= very easy to 5= impossible without help) to complete certain tasks. Figure 15 shows the rankings for each task. At least 40% of users score each task as "1". Setting up and editting a user profile appeared to be the most difficult taskswith over 20% of users indicating the difficulty as moderate to high (3 or higher rank). However, if you subtract out the number of people that didn't actually do these tasks (13.5%) the score improves. Unfortunately, we do not know if these users did not do these tasks because they only wished to utilize non-profile related content (for example, non-WA users or non-orchard crops) or because they didn't know how to do the tasks.


Figure 15. DAS Ease of Use Part 1: How ease or difficult are these specific DAS tasks?

Respondents were then asked to rank the ease in accessing various features in DAS. Figure 16 shows the relative ranking for these tasks. At least 50% of users ranked these tasks as "very easy" or" easy". However, between 5-20% of users were unaware of some features, with the use of historic weather comparisons and comparing pesticide choices being the least known. very few users (less than 5%) found accessing these features "very difficult" to "impossible" (ranks 4-5).


Figure 16. Ease of use for various features within DAS.

Respondents were then asked to rate the relative usefulness of various DAS features. Figure 17 shows the distribution of feature rankings. Again, many features were unknown to some users.


Figure 17. The relative usefulness of various DAS features.

The next set of questions dalt with the use of weather stations. Figure 14 above under "Orchard Charactteristics reported the user's orchard distance from an AWN station. As a follow up to that, we asked if respondents used their own weather stations. The majority of users (79%) do not (Figure 18). For those users that do utilize their own stations, we asked about the ease of entering/uploading their weather data into DAS. Nearly half of the respondents were unaware of this feature, and of those that were aware, 40% indicated that they did not need this feature (Figure 19).


Figure 18. Do you use your own weather station?

Figure 19. How easy or difficult is it to upload your own weather data into DAS?

 

Respondents were asked about how they use the information they get from DAS. The majority of users (60%) indicated that the information ws mostly for their own use, but that they did share it with others as well (Figure 20). In the section above, "Orchard Characterists" we asked about the crops for which the users make management decisions (Figures 9-12). To add to this, we querried the DAS database to see which crops users were accessing information about. Of 609 DAS users accessing accounts at least three times between 2013 and 2014 (July), the majority (93%) accessed information relating to apple (Figure 21). This information was compared to comparable information from 2008 and 2010, also shown in figure 21.


Figure 20. How do you use DAS information?

Figure 21. For which crops are users accessing DAS for management information?

 

We also looked at which models users accessed. The two most popular models were for codling moth (95%) and firebright (85%) followed by Oblique-banded leafroller (71%; OBLR) and Western cherry fruit fly(70%; WCFF). The complete listing is shown in figure 22.


Figure 22. Models used by DAS users during 2008, 2010 and 2013. Key to model abbreviations: CM=codling moth; FB=fireblight; OBLR=oblique-banded leafroller; WCFF=Western cherry fruit fly; CPM=cherry powdery mildew; PLR=Pandemis leafroller; SCAB=apple scab; SJS=San Jose scale; SUN=sunburn; PTB=peach twig borer; AM=apple maggot; LAC=Lacanobia fruitworm; OFM=Oriental fruit moth; SCALD=scald; CS=cherry shothole

Additional information from the DAS user database concerns the number of models accessed per user (Figure 23) and the number of differnet stations users by each ueser (Figure 24).


Figure 23. Number of different models accessed by DAS users.

Figure 24. Number of different stations accessed by DAS users.
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DAS Support

This section of the survey ask respondents about DAS support services including if and how they would like to learn mre about using DAS, if they participated in a learning event, as well as how they would rate their experience with DAS training or other support services. Initially, respondents were asked if they would like to learn more about using DAS (Figure 25) and then what format they would like to have DAS training (Figure 26). The majority (61%) of users would like additional training. Grower meetings and workshops were ranked highest amongst the educational format choices (49.7% and 46%, respectively).


Figure 25. Would you like to learn more about using DAS?

Figure 26. What format for DAS training would you prefer?

 

Respondents were asked if they had participated in a hands-on workshop with laptops during 2010-2012 (Figure 27) and if so, how useful that training was for them (Figure 28). Only 12% of respondents participated in training leaving the sample size for the follow-up question small. Of those that did participate, 97% agreed that the training was both usefull and that they were able to aply the training to their DAS usage. the only negative comments regarding the training were that the user had problems with their internet connection/band width making access problematical and that there was a lot of information for a new user to absorb in such a short session.


Figure 27. Did you participate in a hands-on workshop with laptops?

Figure 28. Do you agree that training was useful and that you were able to apply what you learned?

Respondents were then asked if they had ever called or emailed a DAS team member to request any kind of support (Figure 29). The majority (67.5%) indicated that they had not requested support. Those who had requested support, were asked to rate aspects of the support team's performance (Figure 30). The support team recieved mostly "excellent" ratings for Friendliness (81%), Responsiveness (76%) and Helpfulness (75%). Only two respondents rated Responsiveness poor.


Figure 29. Have you ever contacted the DAS support team for assistance?

Figure 30. If you did request support, how would you rate the team's performance?
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DAS Impacts

The Impacts section of the survey was aimed at discvering how the use of DAS had influenced managment practices and impacted the cost of doing business. The first question asked respondents to indicate how DAS changed the number of sprays applied, the cost for manamgement and the level of pest control acheived (Figure 31). these results can be compared to the same question results from the 2010 survey (Figure 32). A visual comparison of the results indicate that the overall impact of DAS for 2103 was improved.


Figure 31. What types of changes in management programs can be attributed to DAS?

Figure 32. 2010: What types of changes in management programs can be attributed to DAS?

 

Respondents were then asked to indicate to what extent DAS helped in various pest managment processes (Figure 33). The data indicating that DAS had helped in some degree was plotted against comparable data from the previous surveys (Figiure 34). The latter plot indicates that DAS has had a favorable impact on assisting with various aspects of pest management.


Figure 33. To what extent has DAS helped in the following processes?

 


Figure 34. Comparison of how DAS helped over the past survey years.

 

The final survey question asked users to provide an estimate of the value per acre that DAS provided to their operation. Figure 35 summariizes the results from that questions and compares them to the results recieved from the past surveys. Table 1 shows the average value per acre for each survey years. Two things are worth noting here: first, some of the resondents don't actually management or consult so they may have been among those that answered with a 0 or low estimate causing the mean to be lower than the actual average; second, several of the written comments indicated that the value was well above the maximum choice value. Had this been an open-ended question, the results very well have been higher.


Figure 35. Comparative distribution for the value of DAS per acre esimated by DAS users surveyed each of the three years.

Table 1. Average value per acre for each survey year.

2013 Average: $70.44/acre

2010 Average: $70.45/acre

2008 Average: $74.56/acre

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User Feedback

Each survey year respondants were asked what other models they would like to see added to WSU-DAS. The table below summarizes their written responses. Other responder comments can be seen in the PDF summary document (link at beginning of survey results).

Footnotes: *added in 2009  **was already availbale on WSU-DAS  ***added in 2010
Response
2013
2010
2008
Spotted wing drosophila
19
5
 
Brown marmorated stinkbug (and othe stink bugs)
11
1
 
Pear psylla
6
76
4
Polle tube and degree day projection calculator
6
3
1
Apple powdery mildew
5
 
6
Beneficials/predator models (RAA predators, lacewings, ladybugs, etc.)
5
5
3
Aphids (Black cherry aphids, RAA, WAA)
4
2
1
Grapes, grape powdery mildew, grape leaf skeletonizer
3
 
 
Brown rot (Monolina fruticola)
2
 
 
Irrigation model/crop water use calculator
2
 
1
Mealybug (apple and grape)
2
1
2
Mites
2
 
 
Oriental fruit moth*
2
 
5
Ambrosia or shot hole borer
1
 
1
Apricot
1
 
 
Chemical thinning of apples
1
 
 
Cherry powdery mildew*
1
 
4
Christmas tree models
1
 
 
Coryneum blight on cherry (cherry shothole)**
1
 
 
Coryneum blight on peaches and apricot
1
 
 
Eye-spotted bud moth
1
2
 
Fix cherry mildew model so it starts automatically
1
 
 
Leafminers
1
1
 
Peach tree borer
1
 
1
Peach twig borer**
1
 
 
Apple browning
1
 
 
Pear scab
1
 
 
Pears
1
 
 
Small cherry disease
1
 
 
Small fruits
1
1
1
Soil temperature
1
 
 
Spiders
1
 
 
Thrips (Western flower thrips)
1
1
1
Western cherry fruit fly*
1
 
 
Apple clearwing
 
1
 
Bee activity
 
74
 
Fruit groth rates/bloom phenology
 
4
 
Leaf wetness
 
1
 
Sunburn***
 
 
1
thinning plant growth
 
 
1

 

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Previous DAS User Surveys

2010 Web Survey
download PDF Summary
Contents: Survey Methods Background /
Demographics
Orchard
Characteristics

Use of DAS

Impact of DAS

User Feedback

Future of DAS

 

Survey Methods

An online survey of WSU-DAS users was conducted from July through September 2010. Of all registered DAS users, 154 participants responded to our survey and 134 participants completed all questions. The response rate was 34.4% based on 447 users that logged in at least 3 times in 2010. Some graphs presented here show comparative results for the 2008 and 2010 surveys when data for both years exist.

User background/demographics

Most respondents were between 50 and 59 years of age (44%), 23% were 40-49 years old, and 20% were 60+ years of age. Ninety-two percent were male, and 7% were female. Spanish was the first language of 3% respondents, English for 96%. The majority (66%) of respondents have a 4-year degree or higher, followed by some college (16%), a 2-year degree (11%), high school/GED (4%), and trade school (3%).

user age user gender
user language used education

 

Nearly three quarters (73%) of respondents describe themselves as average computer user, 17% as computer experts (compared to 11% in 2008), and 10% as novice. Desktop and laptop computers are used by 82% and 77% of the survey respondents, respectively. The use of smart phones/PDA’s has more than doubled from 20% in 2008 to 45% in 2010.

user computer expertice user computer experience
user computer type users operating system
Computer used for DAS

 

The majority of the survey respondents (61%) were growers/orchardists, 38% were orchard managers, 20% worked as Ag Chem distributor consultants, 16% were Packinghouse or Company fieldmen, 14% worked in research and/or extension, 10% were private crop consultants, and 9% had other full-time or part-time occupations.

user occupations

Over a quarter (26.8%) of the survey respondents also participated in the 2008 survey. The survey respondents comprised experienced as well as new DAS users; 15% registered with DAS in 2010, 25% in 2009, 32% in 2008, and 28% in 2007.

Survey 2008 participant year began using DAS

 

The majority of respondents learned about DAS through grower meetings (58%), followed by PMTP meetings (32%), Good Fruit Grower articles (27%), friends/colleagues (25%), employer/supervisor (17%), internet links/search engine (12%), and/or other sources (14%).

How users heard of DAS
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Orchard characteristics

The survey respondents from WA State provided pest control management or recommendations for a total of approximately 182,044 acres (ranging from 0 to 75,000 acres) in 2,909 orchards (ranging from 0 to 1,400 orchards). Of the respondents from WA State that provided management or recommendations, 92% did so for apples, 63% for pears, 69% for cherries, 32% for other stone fruit, and 11% for other crops including grapes and other small fruit. The majority of survey respondents described their management practice as conventional (82%), followed by organic (39%), non-OP (35%), and other (6%).

acreage number of orchards
users crops user management practices
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Use of DAS

Ease of use of DAS features: Most respondents rated the use of various features of DAS as “easy” or “very easy.” Between 6% and 27% of users indicated that they were not aware of the some of the DAS features. The respondents rated the various insect, disease and disorder models as “easy” or “very easy” to use.

ease of use - set up
features ease of use

Usefulness of DAS features: Survey respondents rated various features on DAS on average between ”somewhat useful” and “very useful.” Best average ratings were given to projected model forecast with management recommendations, model charts, and the overall full WSU Spray Guide. New features, such as video tutorials, online manual, front page stories, and iPhone version were rated on average ”somewhat useful.”

usefullness of features

 

Crops used in DAS:  All crops were used in DAS by the survey respondents, most importantly apple (92%), followed by cherry (71%), pear (62%), and other stone fruit (34%).

crops used in DAS

 

Models used in DAS: The most used models on DAS were codling moth (93%), fireblight (80%), western cherry fruit fly (65%), oblique-banded leafroller (64%), cherry powdery mildew (59%), and Pandemis leafroller (55%). For 62% of the survey respondents, the codling moth model was the most important model, while the fireblight model and western cherry fruit fly model were most important for 22% and 5% of the respondents, respectively.

models used in DAS

 

Number of AWN stations: The number of AgWeatherNet stations used in DAS per user ranges between 1 and 134. The majority of respondents (77%) looked at 1 to 5 weather stations.

stations per user distance from AWN station

 

Use of Custom Weather Stations. DAS allows users to upload and use weather data from their own stations. About 28% of the respondents idicated that they had their own weathter data. Respodents were then asked to rate the level of ease or difficulty in setting up their own stations within DAS.

own station ease of setting up custom station
ease of use of models - custom station

 

Use of DAS. The majority of DAS users check their stations and models between once per week up to 4 to 6 times a week. When asked how sharing DAS information, the majority (68%) reported that the information is mostly for themselves, but they also share it with others.

frequency of use use of DAS information

 

DAS support: Almost half of the survey participants (46%) have requested any kind of support from the DAS team and rated the responsiveness, helpfulness, and friendliness as “good” or “excellent.”

DAS support request
DAS support ratings
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Impact of DAS

Almost half of the respondents (48%) said they were asked for information from DAS, and 81% of all respondents shared the information with others.

The use of DAS resulted in an increase in the level of pest control for 56% of the respondents, reduced number of sprays (36%), reduced cost for pest management (31%). DAS helped 97% of the survey respondents to “some extent” or a “very great extent” with clarifying treatment timings, 68% with choosing chemicals for best efficacy, and 65% with clarifying management for multiple pests.

sharing DAS information

DAS impact on management

In addition, 86% of the survey participants indicated that DAS helped with improving the their overall management strategy, with providing general information on IPM (86%), and with choosing chemicals to reduce natural enemy mortality (60%).

how DAS helped

A comparison was then made between 2008 and 2010 for those stating the DAS was helpful in the various processes showing an overall increase in DAS usefullness.

comparison how DAS helped

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User Feedback

Of the 66% of the respondents who would like to learn more about DAS, 63% would prefer newsletters and updates on the DAS front page, 53% online video tutorials and manual, 42% grower meetings, and 39% workshops. Other suggestions included online workshops and interactive online training. Ten percent of the respondents were interested in using DAS in Spanish.

additional training
DAS translation future models
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Future of WSU-DAS

Maintenance of WSU-DAS costs approximately $200,000 per year. Currently, WSU-DAS is funded mainly by WA Tree Fruit Research Commission grants, but the mission of WTFRC is not meant to support/ maintain long-term projects. In light of this, users were asked if they thought WSU-DAS should continue in the future and how it should be supported.

DAS future

who should pay for DAS

Respondents were then asked if WSU-DAS were forced to institute a user fee, what unit of measure should the fee be based on? Most (50%) felt a flat rate user fee best and only 15.7% felt it should be per station with 34% prefering to give no anwser. They were then asked how much they would be willing to pay per year.

fee basis willingness to pay for DAS

 

We also asked how the user’s operation would be affected if DAS was discontinued next year. The majority of survey participants indicated that the discontinuation of DAS would have “major” or “modest” impacts on the clarity of treatment timings (95%), on the improvement of the user’s overall management strategy (88%), level of pest control (76%), management for multiple pests (71%), costs for pest management (71%), the user’s number of sprays (70%), the user’s choice of chemicals for best efficacy (64%), and choice of chemicals to reduce natural enemy mortality (58%).

impact of DAS loss

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2008 Web Survey

DAS users were asked to complete a short survey at the beginning of the 2008 orchard season. The survey was broken up into three sections: 1. User Description (9 Qs); 2. Orchard Information (8 Qs); 3. WSU-DAS Specific Questions (25 Qs). Most questions were check box type answers to select a particular item (s) or rate something on a 5 point scale. There were a few fill in the blank type questions, such as number of weather stations used. And there were two optional opinion text boxes. Everyone was asked to answer Sections 1 and 2. If users were returning from the previous season, they were asked to complete Section 3 after finishing the first two sections. New users were only asked to complete Sections 1 and 2 inititially, but were asked to complete the final section after they had used DAS for a short time.

The graphs below depict the summary results of this survey. If you would like copies of the survey, the analysis or the summary results you may download the files by clicking on the following links:

WSU-DAS Survey Questions

Analysis of Sections 1&2

Analysis of Section 3

Survey Summary Results

Sections 1&2 Summary Results


Section 2 Summary Results


 

 

Vincent P. Jones

Professor & Entomologist

Department of Entomology, Washington State University Tree Fruit Research & Extension Center, Wenatchee, WA 98801

(509) 663-8181 ext. 273 (phone) (509) 662-8714 (fax)

email: vpjones@wsu.edu


 

Links of Interest

Codling moth mating videos

Immuno-marking studies

Decision Aid System user statistics

 

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