EPA extends the comment period to comment on protection of pollinators

EPA is extending the comment period on its proposed plan to prohibit the use of all highly toxic pesticides when crops are in bloom and bees are present under contract for pollination services. Initially released on May 29, 2015, the plan also recommends that states and tribes develop pollinator protection plans and best management practices.

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Bermuda grass stem maggot advances across Texas

After a year of low activity, the Bermuda grass stem maggot has returned with a vengeance and spread quickly across Texas.

“Since 2013, this new pest has rapidly expanded its range in Texas and is now found throughout much of East, Central and South Texas, and as far west as Abilene and San Antonio,” said Dr. Allen Knutson, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service entomologist, Dallas.

There have also been reports of the pest even farther west in the Brownwood and Anson areas, said Charles Allen, AgriLife Extension entomologist, San Angelo. Continue reading

EPA seeks comment on SmartLabel Program

The Environmental Protection Agency is announcing the second phase of the SmartLabel Pilot, an initiative to develop an electronic system for pesticide labels.  The SmartLabel system will allow pesticide manufacturers to develop and submit pesticide labels to EPA for review in an electronic format instead of as paper or PDF files.

SmartLabel will make the label review process more efficient by creating a standard template for the submission of pesticide label content to EPA, allowing for quicker reviews and easier comparisons to previous label versions. Additionally, SmartLabel will allow the agency to set up a searchable database of standardized label use data for all products, which can be used in support of risk assessments and registration decisions.  EPA is working with 9 pesticide manufacturers who volunteered for the SmartLabel pilot in December 2014.

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Arkansas specialist give tips for managing rice sheath blight

By Yeshi Wamishe, Extension Rice Plant Pathologist

Sheath blight is a major disease of rice in Arkansas. It is caused by a soil pathogen and the fungus has several hosts including soybean and corn among others. It prevails in any rice field if conditions are right for the fungus to develop. Prolonged periods of high humidity and high temperatures favor the sheath blight disease to start and progress.

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