Lice in cattle herds can bite producer profits

by Adam Russell, Texas A&M AgriLife

A common wintertime pest in cattle herds – lice – can suck money from producers’ pockets, said Dr. Jason Banta, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service beef cattle specialist, Overton.

Banta said lice can infest cattle throughout the year, but more problems are seen from December to March.  Continue reading

Southern IPM Coordinators release their pest management priorities for 2017

IPM Coordinators in the Southern Region updated a list of the major insect pest, disease and weed issues that researchers and extension specialists should try to address in the coming year. During their annual meeting on March 15 at the Southeastern Branch Entomological Society of America meeting, IPM Coordinators reviewed the current Southern Region priorities while sharing some of the challenges in their state.

The coordinators belong to a regional committee called the Southern Extension and Research Activities (SERA) 003. Each major region of the country—south, northeast, north central and west—has a similar regional committee. Continue reading

Crape myrtle bark scale study reveals tree treatments to fight pest

by Adam Russell, Texas A&M AgriLife

The second year of survey data tracking crape myrtle bark scale has provided researchers information they believe will help mitigate the pest’s effect on trees, said a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service expert.

Erfan Vafaie, a AgriLife Extension entomologist and integrated pest management program specialist in Overton, and other collaborators in College Station, Huntsville and Dallas, have monitored pest numbers the past two years to help determine crape myrtle bark scale’s seasonal life cycle and peak crawler activity. The data collected has helped researchers develop strategies against them. Continue reading

Fall armyworms are a problem in Alabama

In Southeast Farm Press

by Maggie Lawrence, Alabama Cooperative Extension System

Fall armyworms were found in millet in early June in western Mobile County, Ala. Armyworm caterpillars are detrimental to cattlemen and forage producers. The damage can seem to appear overnight.

Dr. Kathy Flanders, an Alabama Cooperative Extension System entomologist, said a fall armyworm caterpillar eats the most within its last feeding stage. Continue reading

AgriLife Extension entomologist: “There’s a new bug in town”

by Paul Schattenberg, Texas A&M AgriLife

Dr. Mike Merchant, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service urban entomologist based in Dallas, said “there’s a new bug in town” — and it could cause serious harm to some of the state’s most extensively used landscaping trees.

“Ash trees are used extensively around the state in landscaping for homes, businesses, in parks and along highways and streets,” Merchant said. “And the emerald ash borer, an insect that can potentially cause great harm to ash trees, is typically found in more northern states. However, this insect has recently been found here in Texas.” Continue reading

USDA Awards More Than $14.5 Million to Support Plant Health and Resilience Research

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today awarded more than $14.5 million in grants to support research into plant health, production and resilience. These grants were made through the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) Foundational program, authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill and administered by USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).

“As global temperatures rise, we are already seeing that our crops and native plants are increasingly threatened by pests, diseases and invasive species,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “Research into growing more resilient, stress tolerant crops that use water and nutrients more efficiently will offer farmers new tools to produce crops sustainably, and will benefit consumers with food security in the face of climate change and the loss of agricultural land.” Continue reading

Thrips resistance in cotton

In Southeast Farm Press

by Ron Smith, Alabama Cooperative Extension System

The first major insect we focus on during the cotton production season is thrips. Many have heard and read in recent years about the resistance of thrips to our available seed treatments.

We already recommend foliar sprays at the one to two true-leaf stage when cotton seedlings are not growing rapidly and/or thrips pressure is extremely heavy. As the resistance problem grows, we likely will see an increased need for foliar sprays on top of the seed treatments. Continue reading