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

New turfgrass handbook available through AgriLife Extension

Homeowners and professional turfgrass managers now have a new Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service publication available to help them when selecting herbicides, insecticides and fungicides to control common turfgrass pests.

Weed, Insect, and Disease Control in Turfgrass was authored by AgriLife Extension turfgrass specialists Dr. Casey Reynolds, College Station; Dr. Matt Elmore, Dallas; and Dr. Young-Ki Jo, College Station; as well as Diane Silcox Reynolds, a postdoctoral research associate. Continue reading

Old World bollworm has been found in Florida

In Southwest Farm Press

Old World bollworm, a new and potentially devastating insect pest of U.S. cotton and other crops, has been identified in Florida. It was discovered in Brazil in 2013, in Puerto Rico in 2014, and a few individuals were identified in Florida earlier this year.

“This is a severe economic pest in most places where it is established,” says Greg Sword, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension entomologist, who discussed the possibility of it becoming a significant pest in cotton,  soybeans, wheat, small grains, and other  U.S. crops during the cotton segment of the Texas Plant Protection Association’s 27th annual conference in Bryan, Texas. Continue reading

APHIS seeks comments on proposed biological control for citrus psyllid

Excerpted from Logan Hawkes’s article in Southwest Farm Press

The U.S. citrus industry has been facing a serious threat from a disease that has spread from the East coast to the West Coast over the course of the last two decades, carried by a small insect that feeds on the leaves and stems of citrus trees.

Continue reading

Spider mites in Alabama worst on cotton in 50 years

In Southeast Farm Press

By Paul Hollis

Spider mites are influenced greatly by the weather, with hot, dry summers being perfect for mites. Alabama cotton producers have had the greatest problem with spider mites this year than they’ve had in the last 50 years or so.

Continue reading

Field Diagnosis of Key Diseases & Insect Pests in Vegetables

This course will take place at the Madren Conference Center and Clemson University Organic Farm Clemson, SC, September 11, 2014, 9am – 4:30pm.

This one-day course will focus on field diagnosis of key diseases and insect pests affecting vegetable crops in South Carolina and the region. Participants will learn about techniques for sampling and identification of key diseases and their symptoms, and for insect pests and their natural enemies. Participants will gain experience with field monitoring of disease and insect pests on vegetables at the Clemson Organic Farm, and with instruction will practice disease and insect identification using stereo microscopes and hand lenses. All participants will receive a hand lens to take home. Lunch will be provided, and there will be ample time for questions and discussion about disease and insect problems and solutions. Continue reading