by Margaret Haining Cowles
David operates a family dairy farm in Caledonia, Livingston County, with 85 cows. He farms 320 acres of corn and alfalfa or alfalfa/grass that provide all his own roughage and grain for feed. He also raises wheat as a rotation crop.
David began practicing IPM when he participated in an IPM Tactical Agriculture Team in 1991. He was an avid student and always asked questions beyond what was necessary for the pest item being discussed. His enthusiasm for this approach carried over into the following growing seasons as he continued to meet informally with his neighbors to discuss pest management practices.
When Cooperative Extension started demonstrating the use of Pre-sidedress Nitrogen Testing, David was one of the first cooperators. He has used that technology every year since to keep from using excess nitrogen on his corn. He takes an active role in improving his environmental stewardship by collecting his own soil samples for nutrient evaluations and writing his own nutrient management plans. Other IPM practices David uses include scouting for leafhopper and corn rootworm, rotation for corn rootworm, and cutting management for alfalfa weevil.