Silicon amendments may provide sustainable control for rice water weevil

A Masters student at Louisiana State University is seeking a more sustainable way to manage rice water weevil, by amending soils with silicon to strengthen the plant. He is also this year’s winner of the Friends of Southern IPM Graduate Student award in the Masters category.

Rice water weevil is a tiny insect that feeds on the rice plant’s leaves as an adult. After mating, females lay their eggs at the base of the plant. Larvae feed on the roots. The larval feeding on the roots potentially interferes with the nutrient uptake, thereby, weakening the plant. Root damage can cause yield losses through decreasing panicle densities, number of grains, and grain weight. Rice growers use insecticides to control rice water weevil. Continue reading

Outcrossing between johnsongrass, sorghum studied

Dr. Muthu Bagavathiannan, Texas A&M AgriLife

Johnsongrass and sorghum might be considered “kissing kin,” but a Texas A&M AgriLife Research team wants to know if there is more going on in the grain sorghum production fields and bar ditches of South and Central Texas than meets the eye.

Dr. Muthu Bagavathiannan, weed scientist; Dr. Bill Rooney, sorghum breeder; and Dr. Patricia Klein, sorghum geneticist and molecular biologist, all with AgriLife Research in College Station, have teamed up to study gene flow between sorghum and johnsongrass. Continue reading

EPA Extends Comment Period for Neonicotinoid Risk Assessments

At the request of stakeholders, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is extending the public comment period for recently released neonicotinoid insecticide risk assessments from February 20, 2018, to April 21, 2018. The Agency published preliminary ecological and human health risk assessments in December 2017 for the neonicotinoid insecticides, clothianidin, thiamethoxam, and dinotefuran, and a preliminary ecological risk assessment for imidacloprid (assessing risks to birds, mammals, non-target insects, and plants). In December 2017, the Agency also published new cotton and citrus benefits assessments for foliar applications of the neonicotinoids, as well as a response to public comments on the 2014 Benefits of Neonicotinoid Seed Treatment to Soybean Production Continue reading

BeeMORE Undergraduate Summer Research paid internship

If you are an undergraduate science major who is interested in pursuing a career in STEM, there is an exciting new opportunity to develop your skills while studying the interface between microbes and beesBeeMORE is a USDA-funded Research and Extension Experience for Undergraduates who are interested in significantly advancing their research skills in the field, the laboratory, or both. Continue reading

Job Posting: Regional Field Coordinator North Central Region

NC IR-4 Regional Field Coordinator (RFC) oversees and coordinates the activities of field cooperators (FRDs) who conduct Good Laboratory Practices (GLP) field residue trials and efficacy/crop safety trials for IR-4. The RFC assigns field-testing sites within his/her region, reviews Field Data Books for accuracy and completeness, and facilitates the FRD conduct of field trials. The RFC assists IR-4 Study Directors (SD) in meeting their responsibilities while monitoring progress of field trials, and serves as liaison between SD and FRD.  The RFC will ensure that the FRD have sufficient training and experience to conduct the field trials as outlined in the protocol.  RFC communicates with commodity liaisons and specialty crop stakeholders in the region, and assists in prioritization process at the FUW and National Research Planning meetings. This includes preparing materials for newsletters, IR-4 website and presentations at grower & professional meetings. RFC may also need to conduct field trials under certain circumstances.  This position is a 12-month fixed term position, with annual renewal based on satisfactory performance and availability of funding.  The position is located at the MBI Building near the MSU campus. Continue reading

Exotic snail poses threat in Louisiana and Texas

In Delta Farm Press

The apple snail, an exotic pest causing problems for Louisiana and Texas rice and crawfish operations, likely became established as a result of aquarium owners dumping the large snails.

The pests pose a double threat — they have a big appetite for vegetation, according to specialists at Louisiana State University. They also clog crawfish trap openings and tunnel through rice levees. Continue reading

Coordinator for Enviro-weather: Weather-based pest, natural resources and production management tools

Michigan State University’s Enviro-weather Project is seeking an individual to help manage and lead the program as coordinator. Enviro-weather consists of a network of more than 80 automated weather stations throughout the state that collect and transmit detailed weather data to a central database where it is organized and processed into more than 60 weather-based information and decision-making products and applications. Information from the system is distributed operationally to the public through its website: (

The Enviro-weather project team is a small but diverse group that performs website programming, systems administration, field operations, and communication tasks related to the project.  The Enviro-weather coordinator plans and organizes short-term logistics for the team. Continue reading