AgriLife Extension effort monitors sugarcane aphid seasonal movement

by Steve Byrnes, AgriLife Extension

A minuscule pest few Texas farmers had ever heard of three years ago has quickly gained notoriety as the most important insect pest of grain and forage sorghum in Texas, said an expert entomologist.

The pest is the sugarcane aphid, and it’s already been found infesting sorghum in the lower Rio Grande Valley and lower Gulf Coast this year, said Dr. Allen Knutson, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service entomologist at Dallas. As in past years, the sugarcane aphid is expected to move into Central Texas and eventually the Texas High Plains, potentially infesting all of Texas’ sorghum-producing regions by late summer. Continue reading

Sugarcane aphid is costing millions for Texas sorghum growers

It may be hard to spot, but the tiny sugarcane aphid is racking up tens of millions of dollars in losses in just the four South Texas counties evaluated so far, according to a report by an economist with the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service.

And the losses would have been much higher had grain sorghum growers not followed the advice of AgriLife Extension experts, according to Dr. Samuel Zapata, who conducted the study from the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center in Weslaco. Continue reading

Texans asked to help keep citrus canker in check

By Rod Santa Ana, Texas A&M AgriLife

After finding citrus canker in the Lower Rio Grande Valley, experts want the public to know the facts of the disease because they can play a big role in limiting its damage.

Dr. Olufemi Alabi, a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service plant pathologist in Weslaco, said the first thing the public should know is fruit from a tree with citrus canker is safe to eat.

“Citrus canker creates lesions on the stems, leaves and eventually the fruit of citrus trees,” he said. “The fruit is still edible. The blemishes do not affect the internal quality of the fruit, but they do reduce its commercial, fresh fruit marketability.” Continue reading