Hybridized cotton reverses resistance of pink bollworm to Bt cotton

in Southwest Farm Press

Researchers with the University of Arizona and China discovered a surprising strategy to reverse pink bollworm resistance to genetically engineered cotton.

Cotton growers have been able to use genetically engineered cotton to fight the pink bollworm. This has happened as scientists have been able to produce pest-killing proteins from the widespread soil bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis, or Bt. Without adequate countermeasures, scientists have discovered that pests can quickly evolve resistance. Continue reading

Study IDs Ways to Encourage ‘Refuge’ Planting, Slowing Resistance to Bt Crops

by Matt Shipman, North Carolina State University

A new study from North Carolina State University finds a significant shortfall in the amount of “refuge” cropland being planted in North Carolina – likely increasing the rate at which crop pests will evolve the ability to safely devour genetically engineered Bt crops. However, the study also identified actions that may make farmers more likely to plant refuge crops in the future.

For about 20 years, growers have made use of Bt crops to limit crop damage from pests. Bt crops, including corn, are genetically engineered to produce proteins from the Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) bacterium. These proteins are harmless to vertebrates, but toxic to a specific class of invertebrate crop pests. Continue reading

Cornell University scientists sequence genome for whitefly

In Delta Farm Press

A tiny insect that feeds on some 1,000 plant species and transmits more than 300 plant viruses, causing billions of dollars in crop losses each year worldwide, is now about to be subjected to new depths of research that could lead to more effective control.

An international team of researchers at the Boyce Thompson Institute at Cornell University has sequenced the genome of the whitefly, termed “a formidable threat to food security.” Continue reading

Soybean cyst nematode-resistant soybeans are not immune to pest

In Southeast Farm Press

by members of Syngenta

Many soybean farmers don’t realize their fields may be a buffet for soybean cyst nematodes, despite the use of SCN-resistant soybean varieties.

These microscopic, parasitic worms lurk beneath the soil and can feed off soybean plant roots before any above-ground crop damage is noticed. By then, the SCN population has grown much more numerous and stronger, becoming difficult to control as well as a huge economic threat to soybean farmers. 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

AgriLife Research entomologist testing potato psyllids for insecticide resistance

by Kay Ledbetter, Texas A&M AgriLife

A growing resistance of potato psyllids to the neonicotinoid classification of insecticides has Dr. Ada Szczepaniec, Texas A&M AgriLife Research entomologist in Amarillo, looking to the future.

The potato psyllid is a tiny insect with sucking, piercing mouthparts that transmits a disease called zebra chip and can cause tremendous losses to producers, Szczepaniec said. Producers have used the neonicotinoid insecticides to protect their solanaceous crops, mostly potatoes, in the past. Continue reading

When neonicotinoids don’t control thrips, using more isn’t better

In Southeast Farm Press

Tobacco thrips resistant to neonicotinoid class of insecticides are  proving to be more of a problem for cotton producers in North Carolina and across the Southeast.

During the annual convention of the North Carolina Agricultural Consultants Association in Raleigh, George Kennedy, William Neals Reynolds distinguished professor of entomology from North Carolina State University, shared results of research conducted in 2014 and 2015 in the 30 counties where cotton is grown in North Carolina.  The neonicotinoid resistance research, which will continue this year, seeks to find answers to what is driving resistance and what can be done about it. Continue reading