UGA research hopes the key to fighting cowpea curculio lies in snap bean genes

By Julie Jernigan, University of Georgia

Once a top agricultural commodity in Georgia, the Southern pea’s presence in the state is now minimal. Growers are reluctant to plant the crop due to a tiny weevil, the cowpea curculio.

The cowpea curculio is a small, dark weevil that originated in Mexico. It feeds and lays eggs in the pods of Southern peas, making the peas unmarketable. The current management tactic involves spraying regularly with old and new insecticides, but the weevil has such high resistance that this technique has little impact. Continue reading

Study finds rotating with corn boosts cotton yields

In Delta Farm Press

Cotton following corn in rotation resulted in an average 8.9 percent to 17.1 percent yield increase compared to continuous cotton in a 12-year study at Mississippi State University.

Wayne Ebelhar, MSU research professor and agronomist, discussed the long-term research project at the recent Beltwide Cotton Conferences in San Antonio. The study was conducted on two sites, the Centennial Farm at Stoneville, Miss., where cotton has been grown continuously “for at least 100 years,” Ebelhar says, and the Tribbett farm, which is not as productive as the Stoneville location. Ebelhar says the yield advantage comes from “the rotation effect. All other factors were the same.” Continue reading

Biotechnology Risk Assessment Research Grants Program (BRAG)

The purpose of the BRAG program is to support the generation of new information that will assist Federal regulatory agencies in making science-based decisions about the effects of introducing into the environment genetically engineered organisms (GE), including plants, microorganisms — such as fungi, bacteria, and viruses — arthropods, fish, birds, mammals and other animals excluding humans. Investigations of effects on both managed and natural environments are relevant. The BRAG program accomplishes its purpose by providing federal regulatory agencies with scientific information relevant to regulatory issues. See the Request for Applications for details. Continue reading

FDA, USDA, and EPA to Hold Public Sessions on Agricultural Biotechnology

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in coordination with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and EPA’s Office of Pesticide Programs will be holding two public meetings to discuss FDA’s Agricultural Biotechnology Education and Outreach Initiative. This initiative calls for FDA to work with EPA and USDA to provide education and outreach to the public on agricultural biotechnology and food and animal feed ingredients derived from biotechnology. The purpose of the meetings is to provide the public an opportunity to share information, experiences, and suggestions to help inform the development of this education and outreach initiative.

The FDA is also accepting public comments on questions listed in the Federal Register Notice. Comments may be submitted through November 17, 2017. Continue reading

Modified Mosquitoes Used To Contain Dengue Fever

From One America News Network

Brazilian scientists release the first batch of “modified mosquitoes” in an effort to contain the spread of dengue fever.

The scientists infected millions of mosquitoes with a bacteria, which prevents the insects from transmitting the disease to humans. Continue reading

Kansas researchers find gene for resistance to wheat streak mosaic virus

In Southwest Farm Press

by Pat Melgares

Kansas State University researchers have identified a gene that will provide resistance to the wheat streak mosaic virus, a disease that is currently causing economic losses in Kansas fields.

Bernd Friebe, a research professor with the Wheat Genetic Resources Center in the Department of Plant Pathology said the Wsm3 gene is just the third gene known to provide resistance to the virus – and the first that can do so at outdoor temperatures of 75 degrees Fahrenheit and higher. Continue reading

EPA Amends Registration for Enlist Duo Herbicide to Add GE Cotton and Additional States

Enlist Duo, a formula containing the choline salt of 2,4-D and glyphosate for use in controlling weeds in genetically engineered (GE) crops, was first registered in 2014 for use in GE corn and soybean crops. The Environmental Protection Agency is amending the registration to include GE cotton and expand the use to an additional 19 states for GE corn, soybean, and cotton and re-affirming our original decision before the remand.

EPA did a comprehensive review for the initial registration of Enlist Duo and now again in response to the application to amend the registration. EPA’s protective and conservative human health and ecological risk assessments re-confirmed our 2014 safety findings. The pesticide meets the safety standard for the public, agricultural workers, and non-target plants and animal species, including a “no effects” determination for species listed as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act. Continue reading