more on pesticide record-keeping

Below is a quick overview of pest management software programs, including the one we are using. Thought you may find it interesting….find the original story at
Reed’s site is or view more on his orchard at

Record-keeping…. an essential part of IPM and apple production
How effective is your pest management strategy? Which blocks have the highest/lowest pest management costs and why? How does overall pest management costs compare to other orchards in Vermont? What blocks are your most profitable considering all production costs?
Knowledge and information leads to effective decision-making whether it be in IPM or in other production practices. A good record-keeping system allows for analysis of the different components of your orchard operation exposing areas that need change.
This past winter Terry Bradshaw and I obtained five record-keeping software packages that are commercially available to see how applicable they are to apple production, specifically IPM record-keeping (i.e., pest monitoring reports, pesticide applications, etc). The following are the software programs we examined and some comments about each:
Kahiltna Pesticide Application Record Keeping Database
This program was developed by Reed W. Markley, an apple grower in Maine. He describes why he developed the program and what he sees as its most important feature:
“I was not satisfied with the capabilities of some of the affordable record keeping programs that were available so I developed my own. The advantage of developing your own program is that it is easy to add additional features as you need them. Thus the program has grown over the last few years….The most important feature of this program is the capability for multiple simultaneous record entry. This is a tremendous time saver. The records for all the blocks with the same pest that received the same product and product application rate per acre can be entered with a single mouse click. The database keeps records on all items required by the EPA and the state of Maine, including the ability to input weather data at any interval desired.”
Comments: This program was developed for apple orchards and we found it very easy to use. Written in the Microsoft ExcelÒ macro language, it will run on any computer which uses Excel 95Ò or higher. We particularly liked the fact that you could easily view the database and, with knowledge of ExcelÒ, would be able to analyze and use the data for other purposes beyond this program. Currently, it is configured as a pesticide record-keeping database from which chemicals use and spray costs per block can be tracked. The target pest can be entered, but trap captures or other monitoring data are not inputted. From an IPM perspective, it would be good to be able to have this information as part of the database. We were impressed during our initial examination of this program and plan to look at it further during the growing season.
eSpray Spray Management System
This program also was developed by an orchardist, Tom Garretson, in Pennsylvania. He describes the program as: “a computerized pesticide record keeping program for anyone that wants a simpler way to comply with pesticide regulations. eSpray was designed to make pesticide record keeping and reporting easy and less time consuming. To make setup easy eSpray comes with an extensive chemical database. This database is routinely updated and will be available for download.”
Comments: This program has the advantage that it was also developed for orchardists. Having a chemical database and information related to the Worker Protection Standard already at your finger tips is very helpful. When entering information about spray applications, there is a “note” section where comments could be entered on pest levels. We plan to look at this program further during the growing season.

Zeneca Ag Products provides this software free of charge. Zeneca describes Farm-Assist as: “a program for Microsoft Windows® based computers designed to help the farmer keep track of pesticide and fertilizer utilization, record environmental conditions, review seasonal performance and profitability, and develop reports on the above. Farm-Assist contains eight record keeping sections into which the farmer enters data about various facets of the farming process. The program also includes tools for field mapping and spray rate calculation.”
Comments: Its ease of use, good technical support, and the fact it can be run on most computers made after 1992 (i.e., minimum 386 Microprocessor (PC) with WindowsÒ, 4 MB of RAM, 4 MB of hard drive space and a mouse), and is available free of charge makes this a program worth examining.
Tiger Jill
Orange Enterprises, Inc. states that its software program is: “designed to record all field, site or structure Applications, Expenses, Measurements, Cultural activities, Labor, Equipment, Inventories, Billing, Scheduling, Planning, Budgeting, Mapping, Food Safety, Employee safety, Chemical reporting, Worker Protection Standard, Hazardous Manifest, Recommendation, Management capabilities and more.”
Comments: We found Tiger Jill capabilities impressive but were not able to look at the full program, because numerous add-on applications, or modules, are required to do anything with the it outside of basic record keeping. The program was also cost prohibitive at $1400 as configured without additional modules. It is a program that is used by large farms and pest control advisors who provide recommendations for thousands of acres. It provides for electronic submission of pesticide reporting required by various regulators (e.g., Federal, AZ, CA, TX, WA). Since not specifically developed for apple orchards and since it asks for information pertinent to regulators in other states, it does require some adaptation to fit Vermont orchards.
LadyBug 5.0
LadyBug is a chemical management system which arose out of a vineyard owner’s frustration with the record keeping required by farmers. Ladybug describes its program as a: “chemical application, tracking and reporting program…. Ladybug supports unlimited site operations, and automatically generates ALL State of California required reports.”
Comments: Simply said, this program is geared toward meeting pesticide reporting requirements in California. At this point in time, other programs commercially available would be more appropriate to Vermont orchards
In Summary….
In our minds, the ideal IPM database would include pest monitoring information, degree-day accumulations, and pesticide applications, etc. The primary focus of these programs, except for Farm-Assist, is pesticide use record-keeping for reporting purposes to regulators — which is an important function. Tiger Jill by Orange Enterprises, Inc., with its many modules, goes the farthest beyond pesticide record-keeping. It is also the most expensive.
So far, we have not found the software program that would fully address the important question: “What blocks are your most profitable considering all production costs?” This program would involve a comprehensive database with financial management analysis capabilities. We will continue our search. If you know of such a program, please let us know !