Outcrossing between johnsongrass, sorghum studied

Dr. Muthu Bagavathiannan, Texas A&M AgriLife

Johnsongrass and sorghum might be considered “kissing kin,” but a Texas A&M AgriLife Research team wants to know if there is more going on in the grain sorghum production fields and bar ditches of South and Central Texas than meets the eye.

Dr. Muthu Bagavathiannan, weed scientist; Dr. Bill Rooney, sorghum breeder; and Dr. Patricia Klein, sorghum geneticist and molecular biologist, all with AgriLife Research in College Station, have teamed up to study gene flow between sorghum and johnsongrass. Continue reading

Win the war against weeds in warm-season pastures

by Adam Russell, Texas A&M AgriLife

Weeds in warm-season pastures can be an annual battle, and producers should prepare their spray equipment to win the war, said a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service expert.

Now is a good time to calibrate equipment and reflect on the previous year’s weed and pest insect issues to apply successful treatments to warm-season pastures, said Dr. Vanessa Corriher-Olson, AgriLife Extension forage specialist, Overton.  Continue reading

Cover crop choices must be well-planned

In Delta Farm Press

Producers who plant winter crops with no intention of harvesting them reap the benefits of soil conservation, weed control and nutrient retention.

On the flip side, however, the practice of almost constant production in a field creates issues with pest management. Farmers who “plant green” have to balance these challenges to best prepare the way for good crops each year. Continue reading

National Pesticide Safety Education Month launched to promote safe pesticide use

By Christina Conner, University of Georgia

Hundreds of people get sick each year from inappropriate pesticide use, but those who don’t deal with pesticides daily may not think about it very often.

Pesticides are used in homes, workplaces, apartments, farms and other places where humans need to control pests such as weeds, insects, fungi, rodents and even viruses. Of the 11 states participating in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) pesticide safety program, workers reported 853 serious injuries from pesticides in 2011, according to the CDC. Continue reading

Planting time for spring gardens is around the corner, so prep now

Spring gardens may not be as soon for the northern states in the southern region, but the recommendations in this article are applicable to all gardeners.

by Adam Russell, Texas AgriLife

The time is now for East Texas vegetable gardeners to make preparations for planting early varieties and spring garden staples, said a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service expert.

Gardeners have some cool-season vegetables planted already and are soon preparing to plant early vegetable varieties, such as onions, said Dr. Joe Masabni, AgriLife Extension small-acreage vegetable specialist, Overton.  Continue reading

Robotic weeding may be the way of the future

The future of weeding is here, and it comes in the form of a robot.

The growing popularity of robotic weeders for specialty crops has grown partly out of necessity, says Steven Fennimore, an extension specialist at the University of California, Davis. Specialty crops are vegetables like lettuce, broccoli, tomatoes, and onions. They are not mass-produced like corn, soybeans, and wheat. Continue reading

Southern nursery group shows growers how to get the biggest bang for their buck with weed control

Most of us are used to seeing weeds in our yards or flowerpots, but not in the plants that we buy in the store. Nursery crop growers and workers go to great lengths to make sure that the plants we buy are weed free when we pick them up. That service comes at a great cost to the grower, however, so Joseph Neal at NC State University sought to remove some of the burden by teaching nursery owners more efficient and economical ways to weed their container plants.

Weeds are a serious problem for nursery crop growers, not just because they reduce marketability of their container plants, but also because they can inhibit plant development. Just one large crabgrass plant in a container with Japanese holly, for instance, can reduce the weight of the holly by as much as 60 percent. Nursery crop producers use between three and six applications of preemergence herbicides per year, and often must still hard weed after that. The cost of hand weeding is between $500 and $4,000 per acre per year based on labor costs. Continue reading