Specialists warn growers about continuing sugarcane aphid threat

In Southwest Farm Press

Following a serious 2014 outbreak of sugarcane that threatened sorghum crops in multiple states, especially in the Texas Coastal Bend and in Deep South Texas, entomologists and plant specialists from Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service staged an educational update Monday, Jan. 12, in Corpus Christi to update producers on the latest research about the continuing threat of an aphid outbreak in the 2015 growing season.

Entomologists Robert Bowling and Dr. Mike Brewer, Texas AgriLife Research and Extension Center in Corpus Christi, talked about the escalating outbreak of the sugarcane aphid in sorghum fields, the challenges posed by the pests over the last two years, and the latest developments growers face this year.

Stephen Biles, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Agent and IPM specialist for Victoria, Refugio and Calhoun counties, discussed efficacy trials with new and developing products that should be available this year to combat the sugarcane aphid in Texas sorghum fields.

The event was well attended by area growers and was also available on webcast, which was attracted another three dozen producers, including farmers from the Texas High Plains.

“This aphid is nothing new in the continental United States. It was first reported in 1978 in sugarcane fields in Florida. Then again it was reported in Louisiana in 1999 in sugarcane. But in 2013 something new happened. We had either a new variant of this sugarcane aphid or possibly a re-introduction of this aphid that was reported damaging sorghum in Texas,” Bowling told producers. “We also started getting reports of this aphid in Louisiana and lesser reports in Oklahoma and Arkansas [as early as 2013].”

For the rest of the story, see Southwest Farm Press.

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