Beliefs, intentions, and beyond: A qualitative study on the adoption of sustainable gastrointestinal nematode control practices in Flanders' dairy industry.Prev Vet Med. 2018 May 01; 153:15-23.PV
Emerging anthelmintic resistance emphasizes the need for sustainable control approaches against gastrointestinal nematode (GIN) infections in cattle. The uptake of diagnostic methods for sustainable control could enable more informed treatments and reduce excessive anthelmintic use. Unfortunately, the adoption of such methods remains relatively poor. A better understanding of farmers' motivations and behaviour would help to develop applicable advises and communication strategies for sustainable worm control strategies. A previous study created a general model for adoption intention of GIN diagnostics on dairy farms and measured the most important factors driving this intention (Vande Velde et al., 2015). The current research aimed to dig deeper into this model for the beliefs underlying these factors, and to identify additional factors impelling this specific behaviour. Data were collected through 22 semi-structured interviews with dairy farmers. Using analytic induction analysis, data were moved between deduction and induction. Results show that the adoption process of diagnostic methods for GIN occurs through three different phases: adoption intention, actual adoption and maintenance. Low infection awareness and low priority ('top of mind') of the disease are important barriers for adopting sustainable GIN control. Secondly, farmer behaviour is guided by two important social norms: the opinion of their veterinarian and their fellow farmers. However, farmers hold an incongruent relationship with both norms throughout different stages of behaviour: they do not value other farmers' opinions as a positive reference (intention phase), but follow and mimic their behaviour as a group (action phase). The veterinarian is seen as the most important positive reference, but also the responsible actor for GIN control. As such, the farmers do not hold themselves responsible for implementing sustainable control strategies. Thirdly, different types of motivations influence different sorts of behaviours. Sustainable behaviour such as use of diagnostics will be influenced by moral motives, while management behaviour such as treatment is raised by more economic motives. Finally, not only performing, but also maintaining behaviour is important to fully address the adoption of sustainable control. As such, to maintain the adoption on farm, planning could be an important contribution. These insights can be used by animal health organizations and industry by exploiting motivations, social norms and planning to encourage the uptake of diagnostic approaches in GIN control.