Resistant varieties, beneficial predators can help producers win sugarcane aphid battle

by Kay Ledbetter, Texas A&M AgriLife

While sugarcane aphids have been difficult to suppress in past years due to their natural traits and limited insecticide options, a Texas A&M AgriLife Research study shows resistant sorghum varieties and beneficial predators could provide a solution.

Dr. Ada Szczepaniec, AgriLife Research entomologist at Amarillo, recently authored  “Interactive effects of crop variety, insecticide seed treatment, and planting date on population dynamics of sugarcane aphid and their predators in late-colonized sorghum” in the Crop Protection journal. The full article can be found at https://bit.ly/2IknvD4. Continue reading

Chemigation control of sugarcane aphids a viable option

by Kay Ledbetter, Texas A&M AgriLife

Producers might hear a term from the past when they begin looking for solutions to treat the sugarcane aphid in sorghum, according to a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service specialist.

“We are revisiting chemigation for insect pest management,” said Dr. Ed Bynum, AgriLife Extension entomologist in Amarillo, while speaking at the High Plains Irrigation Conference in Amarillo recently. Continue reading

Fungi may help control sugarcane aphids

In Southwest Farm Press

Over the last several years entomologists in Texas and across other southern states have been fighting a war against the sugarcane aphid, a menacing and persistent pest that threatens grain sorghum production. Though some success has been reported from development of specific types of pesticides, entomologists and integrated pest management specialists have been searching for more cost effective methods of control.

Thanks to a visiting Master’s student from Mexico, researchers in south Texas are now focusing on a new control method that may prove the most beneficial in the on-going war against the aphids. Continue reading

Sugarcane aphids spreading throughout the Texas Panhandle

by Kay Ledbetter, Texas A&M AgriLife

While sugarcane aphid populations are still low in grain sorghum fields across the Texas High Plains, a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service specialist in Amarillo said they are beginning to establish and could reach treatable numbers.

Dr. Ed Bynum, AgriLife Extension entomologist, said sugarcane aphid populations in the South Plains only recently reached economic levels in some fields that justified treatment with insecticides. Infestations in the field can be just a few aphids per plant to a thousand or more aphids per plant. Continue reading

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 aphids came early in Texas

in Southwest Farm Press

“Be careful what you wish for.” We have heard that phrase many times, in songs and poems, books and old adages, and probably from parents and teachers and a sibling or two. Its exact origin is unknown, but some credit an early 1800’s Goethe poem, others claim the old common saying is much older, some say younger.

Regardless its origin, however, nothing could be more true or fitting considering this year’s early spring in Deep South Texas. Farmers in the Lower Rio Grande Valley (LRGV) are finding the phrase particularly appropriate as they consider the good, the bad and the ugly of an early planting season this year. Continue reading

High Plains sorghum outlook outlined by AgriLife Extension specialists

by Kay Ledbetter, Texas A&M AgriLife

Producers may be concerned about planting sorghum this season, but several Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service specialists said there are ways to prepare for upcoming issues and be profitable.

During the Interstate 40 Sorghum Luncheon recently in Amarillo, producers heard the latest on managing sugarcane aphids, weed control and how it all figures into the bottom line as producers manage crop budgets and pricing strategies. Continue reading

Sugarcane aphid research outlines economical control methods

by Kay Ledbetter, Texas A&M AgriLife

Sorghum producers can reduce input costs and improve their bottom line in the battle against sugarcane aphids in the Texas High Plains through the use of selected varieties and early planting and scouting, according to a Texas A&M AgriLife Research study.

Dr. Ada (ah da) Szczepaniec (Stra PA netz), AgriLife Research entomologist in Amarillo, has wrapped up her first year of assessing the impact of planting dates, insecticide seed treatments and resistant varieties of sorghum on the timing and severity of sugarcane aphid infestations in a study near Bushland. Continue reading

UK extension helps farmers out of sticky situation

By Katie Pratt, University of Kentucky

In the Monroe County community of Vernon, sweet sorghum production is the economic driver for the area’s Amish population. When a new pest threatened to destroy the 2016 crop, the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service stepped in to help the farmers save the crop and their livelihood.

Since 2013, the sugarcane aphid has made its way north each summer after spending the winter in Mexico and Texas. Before then, it did not feed on sorghum nor pose a serious threat. Continue reading

Seed treatments and hybrids are key to controlling sugarcane aphids

In Southeast Farm Press

Selecting tolerant hybrids and using treated seed are important steps to control sugarcane aphids in sorghum, which has become a major pest.

Speaking at Pee Dee Research and Education Center’s 2016 Field Day Sept. 13 in Florence, Francis Reay-Jones, associate professor of entomology at Clemson University, said using seed treatments and planting tolerant hybrids is critical because most of the labeled insecticides only provide “so so” control of sugar cane aphids. Continue reading