Organic grain, soybean study establishes early production recommendations

by Kay Ledbetter, Texas A&M AgriLife

After one year of studying organic grain and soybean cropping systems, Texas A&M AgriLife scientists say they know more about what not to do moving forward.

Three Texas A&M researchers are using a $475,000 U.S. Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture grant to study organic grain and soybean cropping systems over a three-year period. Continue reading

Texas A&M scientists synthesize historical tick models to help curb the pest globally

by Steve Byrnes, Texas A&M AgriLife

The battle against fever ticks rages on, and a group of Texas A&M University and French National Institute for Agricultural Research scientists are doing their best to determine where the fray will head by synthesizing historical models for use in curbing the pest globally.

Texas A&M’s departments of wildlife and fisheries sciences and entomology and the French institute have collaborated for a number of years to model systems approaches meant to address ecological and regulatory questions about fever ticks, said Dr. Pete Teel, who works within the entomology department’s Tick Research Laboratory. Continue reading

Genetic discovery another tool in battle against wheat pests

by Kay Ledbetter, Texas A&M AgriLife

Greenbug and Hessian fly infestations can significantly reduce wheat yield and quality in Texas and worldwide. Breeding for resistance to these two pests using marker-assisted selection just got a new tool from a Texas A&M AgriLife Research study.

Because genetics is the most economical strategy to minimize losses, AgriLife Research wheat geneticist Dr. Shuyu Liu began two years ago searching for breeder-friendly markers for those two insects. This step is a continuation of ongoing genetic work on insect resistance. Continue reading

Texas A&M AgriLife experts discuss fumonisin contamination, possible avoidance practices

by Kay Ledbetter, Texas A&M AgriLife

Texas A&M AgriLife officials are offering some best management practices for producers to keep in mind as harvest continues and for next year after fumonisin contamination has been found in truckloads of corn across the Texas High Plains.

Dr. Tom Isakeit, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service plant pathologist in College Station, said this year nothing can be done to minimize fumonisin already present in the standing crop; however, producers can make a few changes during harvest to possibly reduce the amount of contaminated grain collected. Continue reading

New AgriLife Extension state weed specialist named

by Kay Ledbetter, Texas A&M AgriLife

Almost faster than weeds can sprout, Dr. Scott Nolte is being called into service.

Nolte was hired Sept. 1 as the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service state weed specialist and as an assistant professor in the Texas A&M University soil and crop sciences department, College Station. Continue reading

Invasive plant species control in rangeland topic of Sept. 7 webinar

by Kay Ledbetter, Texas A&M AgriLife

Understanding and Controlling Invasive Species will be the title of the Sept. 7 natural resources webinar conducted by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service ecosystem science and management unit.

The webinar is a part of the Texas Range Webinar Series scheduled the first Thursday of each month from noon to 1 p.m., said Pete Flores, AgriLife Extension webinar coordinator in Corpus Christi. 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