Extension Marks 61 Years of Weed Guide with User Survey
The Guide for Weed, Disease, and Insect Management in Nebraska (EC130), also known as the “Weed Guide,” is one of the most popular publications that Nebraska Extension offers. With this article, we are offering a brief history of the Guide and asking consumers to fill out an anonymous survey on how they use the Guide.
The Weed Guide was first published in 1960 under the name “Chemicals that Control Weeds” (EC60-130). It was six pages long. Since then, the Guide has been updated annually as new herbicides become available. By the year 2010, the Weed Guide had grown to about 220 pages. Then, in 2011, we added information about insect and disease management, making the Guide a versatile pest management resource.
Today, the 2021 Weed Guide contains 375 pages of the most current, researched pest control recommendations based on the principles of Integrated Pest Management. It is written by UNL Extension specialists and educators, a total of 18 people working together, from the disciplines of weed science, plant pathology, entomology and pesticide safety education.
Conservatively, we estimate that the Guide offers at least $20 million-worth of research-based information. Consider this: the herbicides recommended in the Guide’s Herbicide Efficacy tables for each crop are only listed if they were tested by at least one UNL weed specialist. That is the only way that we could provide impartial efficacy ratings for each of the listed products. These are not ratings from pesticide manufacturers but from UNL researchers who are devoted to providing accurate, local information for Nebraskans. Just imagine how much institutional time has been invested in testing herbicides over the past 62 years by all the weed specialists that have worked for UNL since 1960.
From 2015-2020, we distributed an average of 15,000 copies per year. Most of our customers come from Nebraska and neighboring states. However, we have received orders from both the east and west coasts, as well as from Canada (Figure 1).
We strongly believe in continuing this service and will continue keeping up with the newest and evermore complicated pest control information. We are also asking each person to fill out a survey, as we are seeking to understand the latest trends on how our customers use the Weed Guide and the value they place on it. Anyone may respond to this anonymous survey, which we estimate will take 10-15 minutes to complete. We are especially interested in hearing from our growers, ranchers, private pesticide applicators, and agricultural professionals, but the general public is welcome to respond as well. Your help is greatly appreciated.