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Can we still trust Land Universities

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by Ric, Jun 17, 2008.

  1. Ric

    Ric LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,969


    Recently I have noticed several of the Land Grant Universities websites are no longer posting Chemical controls in favor or Cultural and Biological controls of many insect species. I have never been a believer in One Source information and try and get different opinions. BUT I am finding more and more not to trust Land Grant Universities. Has anyone else found this to be true????????
  2. Marcos

    Marcos LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,720

    I don't put nearly as much stock in them as I once did...say, 15 to 20 years ago.

    But this is because of a different reason altogether :

    In the past couple of decades, a number of major schools in the upper Midwest with relatively sizable Ag depts :hammerhead:(i.e. O.S.U., Purdue & Penn State) :hammerhead: have worked to 'standardize' quite a bit of the data from turf trials retrieved through the years by members of their own respective Ag staffs, as well as individual studies to some degree.

    This is probably being done for the sake of being "politically-correct" to the green industry at-large, in such a way that each school doesn't in some way have too much of an 'argument' against a school in a neighboring region or state.

    Or even more specifically...they no doubt did this because there were too many somewhat well-educated turf folks out there who were pitting professors' advice from school X against professors' advice from school Y on (what they may have considered to be redundant) turf issues.

    So having everyone in the same turf zone hardiness latitudes "on the same page", so-to-speak, served to alleviate alot of wasted time, as well as to 'save face' in the eyes of their academic peers, from their perspective.

    The problem, however, from my perspective, is that such a 'homogenized' set of recommendations that is agreed upon in principle by all parties involved...certainly is bound to omit a certain amount of truly valid and responsible turf recommendations along the way.
  3. Ric

    Ric LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,969


    Is GOING GREEN in effect, not Politically Correct? My experience is, Ask Two Professors in the same office working on the same project a Question. You will get 3 different answers. But you only hear the answer you wanted. Many of these PhDs are in there own little world and have never had field experience. If you aren't asking a question about the project they are currently working on, Their answer is no better than a house wife's answer.

    But I will agree all universities seem to have uniform answers that are now always GREEN. I prefer the Green of the dollar but try not to be polluter of the environment.
  4. LawnTamer

    LawnTamer LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,986

    This is my experience too. I am often surprised when I ask a question, that the answer given is either wrong, or "I don't know".

    I suppose the industry is so broad, and they need to know bits about other industries just as large, or even larger than the green industry. Agriculture, agri-business etc.

    A few yrs ago, I had a lawn with Necrotic Ring Spot, I was treating it annually with Rubigan AS. The lawn was also thin and frequently drought stressed. I wanted to inoculate the lawn with mycorhizal fungi, but wasn't sure if the Rubigan would kill the spores. I asked one of the head T & O honchos at the local ag school. He looked at me like I was speaking Chinese. He was somewhat familiar with NRS, but hadn't really heard of mycorhizal fung introduction.
  5. Marcos

    Marcos LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,720

    I hear what you're saying about those folks with PhDs in turf...but with otherwise no practical experience in what we do day-to-day, in terms of prioritization of different reasonable control measures for a specific turf issues...and all the while trying to still make a profit doing so; which, most of the time, is something they know next-to-nothing about.
    They just 'know what they know'...most of the time...and you have to take quite a bit of what you hear and read from them with a grain of salt because of this lack of business diversity.

    I would have to say that...yes, "going green" as you state it, probably has begun to take the high road over traditional pesticide use, in the eyes of many Ag academia.
    Particularly the younger up-and-coming generation of graduates getting advanced degrees in turf-related fields will be MUCH more likely to embrace "going green"...much more-so than the baby boomer generation professors that are beginning to retire about now.

    Even the "Turf" magazine I subscribed to when I joined lawnsite had an article from the editor a couple issues ago, about how the name "Green Industry" is being swiftly taken away from us, generally by those who support the theory of global warming...and market things to 'lessen the future impact' of it !!

    I don't think the concepts and principles of Integrated Pest Management will ever go away from this field, even with this overwhelming tide of "going green".
    I believe this to be the case because of examples such as GPS technology in Agriculture already detecting disease / insect infestations of specific fields from satellites, and alerting the farmer automatically to go out, inspect, and take care of the problem.
    This, of course, may mean only having to treat some sections of his acreage with pesticides !!
    Technology available today can be fed into computers in farmer's planting equipment that shows the nutritional requirements for every little section of his / her fields, individually.
    And the booms are programmed AUTOMATICALLY to feed these given sections just the 'prescribed' amounts of N,P or K etc for each section as the tractor moves along.

    This kind of thing is ultimate I.P.M....and should be the direction of the future for turf, too !
    I can see that there's no reason that this same thing won't come to golf courses, larger sports complexes, etc down the road.
    Maybe it already has to some...I wouldn't be surprised !

    I don't think chemicals will ever go away COMPLETELY from the radar of turf care or the green industry in general. But the bottles and bags will continue to get smaller and smaller, and more concentrated.

    I believe that manufacturers will continue to be pressured by the E.P.A. to make package sizes smaller (to minimize disposal space needs) and to come up with products with higher LD 50s and shorter half-lives in their residual; but of course still do the job at a reasonable cost.

    The itty bitty U.S. professional green industry follows quietly behind in the shadows of the massive U.S. agriculture behemoth, at least as far as pesticides are concerned.
    And even though legislation banning pesticides can be limited to specific applications, including turf; as long as there's pesticides being used in food production, you can bet the ranch it'll find a way into turf, albeit illegally...somehow.

    It should be REAL interesting to see how the Canucks in Ontario make due this summer, and going into next year...after the recent pesticide ban there begins to show its ramifications over time.

    Probably the most un-heralded strides the USA ever took in the 20th century was the development of specific pesticides, over time, to control threats to our food supply, as well as a checks-and balance system of detecting potential problems that sometimes may occur with a pesticide after its release to the market, even after years of laboratory and field testing.
    I can't see the entire U.S. Ag system abandoning all pesticides anytime soon, can you ?!? :rolleyes:
  6. americanlawn

    americanlawn LawnSite Fanatic
    from midwest
    Messages: 5,944

    Great post! I think our L'grant U is going green to some extent. Such as using corn gluten meal as a pre-emergent --- expensive/impractical, but it works.

    Then there's the recommended pesticides: some published 'fact sheets' suggest using old-time products instead of new systemic ones that are much more effective. Like contact fungicides instead of systemic. Chemical manufacturers & their distributers offer up-to-date info -- example: Q4.

    I like our land grant university very much, and they are top notch when it comes to identifying plants, insects, diseases, etc. Keep in mind that they also rely on us to report pest outbreaks and other stuff. It's a team effort.
  7. Ric

    Ric LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,969

    If you want to lose my respect, Quote a Land Grant University.


    As I said before. If the PhDs aren't currently working on that project, their advise was as good as any house wife would give. Wrong answers? Sure all the time and in some cases, recommendations that are off label and illegal. You just can't trust Land Grant Universities information. I would rather take information from a experienced respected person working in our field than a University PhD.


    Interesting you bring up Agriculture. Yes Agriculture has a strong lobby and I will bet my bottom dollar Agriculture will not be effected as bad by Green People Tree Huggers. Recent ordinances past here in Florida specificity say Agriculture land is exempt. Yet Agriculture is the biggest polluter. Horticulture is the last to get new products. With the amount of Chemicals purchased by Agriculture, all the R & D goes into Agriculture products. If Horticulture is lucky, we get the failures and off falls of Agriculture. At one time I had the stats of Fertilizer usage by Agriculture compared to Horticulture. All I can remember at this point is a big imbalance of about 100 to 1 or more.

    GreenDoctor from Hawaii should read this thread later tonight and I am sure he will add his 2 cents. He said in an other thread U of Hawaii was going green and he he could no longer trust getting any information from them. I feel this thread should be a warning to all that living and breathing a Land Grant University information is not a good thing any more. Political Correctness has set in. Any time you place all your marbles in one basket, you leave yourself open. Ahh To go back to the days before Political correctness and kids games where we actually kept score and had winners and loser. Those were the days.
  8. tamadrummer

    tamadrummer LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,102


    I am way off topic here, but I have been trying to PM you and cannot.

    I totally agree so far with the points being made in this thread!

    Please let me know how to contact you if PM is not gonna do...
  9. Ric

    Ric LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,969


    I keep forgetting to empty my PM box. I will do so now.
  10. tamadrummer

    tamadrummer LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,102

    Cool thanks


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