AgriLife Extension entomologist: “There’s a new bug in town”

by Paul Schattenberg, Texas A&M AgriLife

Dr. Mike Merchant, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service urban entomologist based in Dallas, said “there’s a new bug in town” — and it could cause serious harm to some of the state’s most extensively used landscaping trees.

“Ash trees are used extensively around the state in landscaping for homes, businesses, in parks and along highways and streets,” Merchant said. “And the emerald ash borer, an insect that can potentially cause great harm to ash trees, is typically found in more northern states. However, this insect has recently been found here in Texas.” Continue reading

Pollinators help cotton yields in Texas

In Southwest Farm Press

by Logan Hawkes

According to the results of a new study published in the journal Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment today (June 16, 2016 issue), South Texas cotton fields surrounded by natural land cover and an increase in the number of natural pollinators can result in an overall increase in cotton production – by as much as 18 percent.

Shalene Jha, assistant professor of integrative biology at the University of Texas-Austin and senior author of the study, says increasing the diversity of pollinator species around cotton fields—including bees, flies and butterflies—can dramatically increase yields. Using South Texas as a basis for the study, she concludes that annual cotton revenues of the region can be increased by more than $1.1 million. Continue reading

Integrated pest management can reduce grower cost

This feature article, appearing on June 15 in Delta Farm Press, provides some of the best reasons that growers should practice the techniques of integrated pest management: scouting their fields, measuring their soil nutrition, and waiting to use chemical intervention until it’s warranted. Spoken by an Extension professional who came from the crop consulting field, the message summarizes what the Regional Centers and state IPM Coordinators stand for. Continue reading