Improper mosquito control on livestock can do more harm than good, expert warns

by Steve Byrnes, Texas A&M AgriLife

In an effort to save their livestock from the torment caused by the plague of mosquitoes in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, some producers are making the mistake of misusing chemicals to control the pests, said a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service expert.

“The results can be potentially disastrous,” said Dr. Sonja Swiger, AgriLife Extension livestock entomologist at Stephenville. “Misuse of potent chemicals can quickly become an example of ‘the cure is worse than the malady,’ not only for the animals being treated but also to the environment. Continue reading

Crapemyrtle pest to be targeted by $3.3 million grant to Texas A&M AgriLife Extension

by Kathleen Phillips, Texas A&M AgriLife

The most popular flowering shrub in the U.S. has a new ally in a fight against a new, devastating exotic pest.

A $3.3 million grant will fund the study “Systematic Strategies to Manage Crapemyrtle Bark Scale” to be led by Dr. Mengmeng Gu, associate professor and ornamental horticulturist for Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, College Station. Continue reading

Wheat streak mosaic, volunteer issues to be highlighted at May 17 field day

by Kay Ledbetter, Texas A&M AgriLife

During the May 17 Wheat Field Day, Texas A&M AgriLife Research will highlight a “real-life” research study that will provide a firsthand look at what happens when volunteer wheat is not controlled.

The field day will begin in the Porter Wheat Building at the AgriLife Research farm west of Bushland with registration at 8:30 a.m. and tours at 9 a.m. After two hours of tours, attendees will be welcomed to visit several booths and posters before a noon lunch and program. Continue reading

New wheat streak mosaic virus resistance genetic markers developed

by Kay Ledbetter, Texas A&M AgriLife

The Wsm2 gene is located on chromosome 3BS in wheat and most recently eight tightly linked flanking markers have been identified and mapped.

To most, that means very little. To Texas A&M AgriLife Research geneticists and breeders, it’s the key to battling one of the most important biotic stresses affecting wheat. Continue reading

AgriLife Extension asking South Central Texas residents to watch for pecan weevil

by Paul Schattenberg, Texas A&M AgriLife

The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service is seeking assistance in locating possible pecan weevil infestations in Bexar, Hays, Comal and Travis counties, said Dr. Larry Stein, AgriLife Extension horticulturist in Uvalde.

“The pecan weevil is a serious pest of pecan,” Stein said. “Previously, pecan weevil distribution was unknown in Texas until last year when they were found near the Wimberley area in Hays County. Most recently, we had a new pecan weevil identification in Comal County near the Guadalupe River. And there’s strong possibility of additional infestations within these and other nearby counties.” Continue reading

Texas producers delaying wheat planting due to grasshoppers

High Plains wheat producers who are normally ready to put seed in the ground might want to hold off this year, according to Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service specialists in Amarillo.

With the extremely heavy pressure from grasshoppers, as well as other insects and diseases due to the wet year, waiting until the growing plants or  “green bridge,” is broken is advisable, said Dr. Jourdan Bell, AgriLife Extension agronomist, and Dr. Ed Bynum, AgriLife Extension entomologist.

“While we know wheat producers generally begin to plant in September, it really would be best if they could wait until mid-October to avoid grasshoppers and other issues,” Bell said. “The risk will be losing some of the grazing in the fall, but wheat that is planted earlier is more susceptible to insects and pathogens.” Continue reading

Corn and Sorghum Field Day set Sept. 3 in Texas

The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service Swisher County Ag Committee will conduct a Corn and Sorghum Field Day beginning at 9 a.m. Sept. 3 near Kress.

John Villalba, AgriLife Extension agent in Swisher County, said participants should meet at the Swisher County Co-op Gin located 1.5 miles east of Kress on Farm-to-Market Road 145.   

Participants will then travel to the Cody Gruhlkey Farm to view dryland corn and sorghum plots, which will be followed by a move to the Klepper Farm to view early and mid-season sorghum variety trials. Continue reading