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Surprise attack by redbanded stink bugs inspires new thresholds in Mississippi

by Bonnie Coblentz, MSU Extension Service

A game-changing insect caused significant problems in many Mississippi soybean acres, but good management allowed growers to finish the year with an average crop.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimated that by Oct. 23, Mississippi farmers were 92 percent finished harvesting the state’s soybean crop, which covered about 2.03 million acres this year. Insect and disease pressures made the effort challenging, but USDA predicts growers will harvest a state average of 48 bushels an acre. Continue reading

Beekeepers and farmers in Mississippi work together to protect each other’s interests

In Delta Farm Press

by Hembree Brandon, Delta Farm Press

Cooperation between Mississippi beekeepers and farmers has been an important factor in obtaining Section 18 approval for sulfloxaflor (Transform), a key pesticide for cotton and grain sorghum.

The EPA approval was “really good news,” says Angus Catchot, coming on the heels of a California Ninth Circuit Court decision last year that resulted in the EPA cancelling sufloxaflor registrations in all crops as a result of allegations by the Pollinator Stewardship Council and other non-governmental organizations that there was not sufficient research on its potential impact on pollinators to support registration of the compound. Continue reading

Brazil battles the boll weevil

In Delta Farm Press

If you need a refresher course on the destructive power of the boll weevil — the pest that cost U.S. growers billions of dollars in treatment costs and lost yield over many decades — you have only to go to Brazil, says Angus Catchot, a Mississippi State University Extension professor of entomology.

He and Darrin Dodds, associate Extension/research professor of plant and soil sciences at MSU, took a group of research students to the World Cotton Research Conference in the South American country, and spent a few days in the field looking at cotton and other crops. Continue reading

Sorghum growers need a solid management plan

In Delta Farm Press

If you’re going to grow grain sorghum this year, you should factor into your plans a solid insect management plan, says Angus Catchot, Mississippi State University Extension professor of entomology and plant pathology.

“Going into the season, have a plan to deal with a few of the most common yield robbers: sugarcane aphid, sorghum midge, and the headworm complex,” he said at the annual meeting of the Mississippi Agricultural Consultants Association. Continue reading

Mississippi sorghum growers were ready for sugarcane aphids

In Delta Farm Press

After causing significant challenges in 2014, sugarcane aphids did not catch Mississippi’s grain sorghum growers by surprise this year.

“We are not sure if sugarcane aphids were not as bad as last year or if we just did a better job using insecticidal seed treatments,” said Angus Catchot, an entomologist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service. “One big difference was that we were more educated in our control efforts. No one was caught by surprise, and everyone had budgeted for control.”

Continue reading

Mississippi IPM specialists encourage farmers and beekeepers to communicate

In Delta Farm Press

by Kerri Collins Lewis, Mississippi State University

Pitting farmers against beekeepers does little to solve the problems facing pollinators. “In some cases, anti-pesticide groups are using the challenges facing bee health as an opportunity to set up a very black-and-white, good guy versus bad guy scenario when it comes to agricultural production,” said Angus Catchot, an entomologist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service.

“In the long run, this could hurt the average beekeeper in our area because that is the only story farmers are hearing in the media. It makes them wary of having beekeepers on their property or fearful of losing important crop production tools, such as neonicotinoid seed treatments.”

Continue reading

Mississippi researchers receive grant to research corn earworm

In Delta Farm Press

Jeff Gore, research entomologist at Mississippi State University’s Delta Research and Extension Center, is one of six scientists who have been selected to receive grants through Monsanto’s Insect Management Knowledge Program.

The program, which started in 2013 as the Corn Rootworm Knowledge Program, provides merit-based awards of up to $250,000 per award per year for up to three years for research that the company says “will not only enhance the collective understanding of insect management but help address significant challenges in agriculture.”

Continue reading