International conference highlighted strength of Texas spinach industry

by Paul Schattenberg, Texas A&M AgriLife

Texas’ billion-dollar spinach industry was the focus of the 2016 International Spinach Conference, which brought more than 80 people from various countries to San Antonio.

The two-day conference, coordinated by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, was attended by spinach growers and shippers, as well as others involved in the agricultural and scientific aspects of spinach production. Attendees were from the U.S., Canada, China, Denmark, England, Japan and the Netherlands. Continue reading

Texas confirms locally transmitted Zika case

Even though winter is arriving in the South, residents should not get complacent about protecting themselves from mosquito-borne viruses. PCT Online reported last week that a locally-transmitted case of Zika has been discovered in Texas.

“Lab results confirmed the virus in a non-pregnant female resident of Brownsville last week,” the article says. “She has not traveled to an area where the virus is circulating and has no other known exposure to the virus that would have put her at risk for infection.” Continue reading

There’s no simple solution to weed control

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it,” said George Santayana in The Life of Reason. That quote seems fitting to apply to weed scientist Eric Prostko’s warning to growers about overusing herbicide-resistant technology in the absence of other non-chemical weed management. He authored an article in Southeast Farm Press named “7 lessons learned from the ‘glyphosate era’ we must remember.”

Prostko recalls the development of glyphosate-resistant crops that exploded in the US, leading to some of the worst cases of glyphosate-resistant weeds developing because of resistance. Now, he says, growers face another possible era of herbicide resistance, due to auxin-resistant, or AR, crops. Continue reading

Integrate pest management strategies to control Hessian fly

by Donald Stotts, Southwest Farm Press

Hessian fly infestations have been found in southwestern Oklahoma winter wheat this fall, making it important for producers to identify affected fields and strategies that can assist in managing the pest next year.

“Even though there is not a 100 percent effective solution in terms of managing Hessian fly, producers have several options available to minimize the problems caused by this pest,” said Tom Royer, Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension integrated pest management coordinator. “It starts with awareness about the pest and detecting its presence.” Continue reading

Cattle fever tick discovered in Live Oak County in Texas

In Southwest Farm Press

Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC) Executive Director Andy Schwartz has confirmed the presence of cattle fever ticks on a Live Oak County ranch after a bull on the property was evaluated by a local veterinarian and a suspect tick was found on the animal.

The incident prompted TAHC and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to establish a Control Purpose Quarantine Area (CPQA) for the systematic inspection of all livestock and wildlife hosts in the portion of Live Oak County surrounding the infested premises. Schwartz says property owners within the new CPQA are currently being contacted by TAHC and USDA inspectors in a comprehensive effort to contain movement of ticks outside the area. Continue reading