Experts gather in Texas to discuss mosquito and tick issues

by Blair Fannin, Texas A&M AgriLife

With ticks posing an ongoing threat to Texas’ cattle industry and mosquitoes causing challenging human health diseases such as Zika virus, a consortium of public health experts met at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center in Weslaco to hear the latest research and offer potential solutions.

Texas A&M AgriLife Research and the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston are leading a collaboration to solve threats from the pests as members of the Western Gulf Center of Excellence for Vector-Borne Diseases. Continue reading

Federal and state agencies working together on cattle ticks in Texas

in Southwest Farm Press

The threat of cattle fever ticks spreading northward into the Southwest U.S. is an issue heavy on the minds of South Texas border region livestock producers, who have been operating under inspection, and in some cases quarantine, protocols imposed by federal and state animal health officials.

The protocols were issued as because of an increase in the number of cattle fever ticks discovered on livestock and wildlife outside the permanent tick eradication quarantine zone on the Texas border. Continue reading

Rio Grande Valley citrus growers vote whether to pool resources for pest management

by Rod Santa Ana, Texas AgriLife Extension

Rio Grande Valley citrus growers will vote this month on whether to pool their resources to battle invasive pests and diseases.

Brad Cowan, the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service agent in Hidalgo County, said growers will vote on setting up a management zone, approving a maximum assessment rate and electing growers to a board that will represent the management zone. Continue reading

Weather in South Texas instrumental in helping farmers avoid pest pressure

by Rod Santa Ana, Texas A&M AgriLife

South Texas row crop producers are likely to answer with a smile when asked the age old ice-breaker, “Hot enough for you?”

Plentiful rainfall late last year combined with mostly hot, dry weather since have helped growers produce vigorous crops of cotton, grain sorghum and corn and healthy yields, according to experts with the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. 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

Sugarcane aphid populations building in Rio Grande Valley

In Southwest Farm Press

by Ron Smith, Southwest Farm Press

Sugarcane aphid populations increased dramatically in South Texas from the last few days of April into the first days of May, and a Texas AgriLife Extension integrated pest management specialist is advising producers to monitor fields closely, every three to four days.

“I’ve received many reports of sorghum fields being treated by air and by ground for sugarcane aphids this week,” says IMP specialist Danielle Ortiz. Continue reading