Extension, Research Entomology Receives Three USDA Grants For Integrated Pest Management

Sugarcane aphid nymphs and an adult on a grain sorghum leaf

Sugarcane aphid nymphs and an adult on a grain sorghum leaf. (Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service photo by Dr. Pat Porter)

COLLEGE STATION – The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and Texas A&M AgriLife Research have received a total of $937,345 in grant monies from the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture for integrated pest management work, according to a recent USDA news release announcing the successful grant projects.

The agency awarded a total of $16 million in grants nationally to support research and Extension activities across the U.S. that address critical integrated pest management needs, according to the press release. The resources are meant to protect crops and livestock, ensure greater food security and effectively respond to other major societal challenges as stated in the release.

Of the four grants awarded, the Department of Entomology received three of the four which totaled more than $689,000.

late season leaf drop on crape myrtles, Longview, TX Photo by E. Vafaie

Late season leaf drop on crape myrtles showing Crape Myrtle Bark Scale in Longview, Texas. Photo by Erfan Vafaie

“Integrated pest management is a best-management strategy that utilizes a number of tactics to control pests in the most effective, economical, yet environmentally friendly, ways available,” said Dr. Charles Allen, a grant recipient and AgriLife Extension entomology program leader/associate department head and statewide integrated pest coordinator at San Angelo.

The Applied Research and Development Program grants and amounts for the Department of Entomology are:

  • An AgriLife Research grant for $250,000 to study the sugarcane aphid on grain sorghum. The project will include evaluating thresholds that guide insecticide use; determining principal natural enemies, their abundance and impact; screening reported resistance to pesticides; natural pest enemies; and communicating findings to growers and industry.
  • An AgriLife Extension grant for $244,478 to include determining population dynamics of early stage crape myrtle bark scale across multiple growing seasons; determining the efficacy of different management strategies for crape myrtle bark scale infestations in landscapes and nursery container production; evaluating the pest’s feeding preference on different crape myrtle species and cultivars; and promoting awareness and disseminating integrated pest management control strategies to help people manage the pest.
  • The Extension Implementation Program grant, an AgriLife Extension grant for $195,000, will provide funding for applied research and Extension programming to solve pest-related problems in agriculture, home/landscape, school and urban settings, with an emphasis on information sharing, project evaluations and collaborator education.

The fourth grant was awarded to Soil and Crop Sciences in the amount of $247,867 to include the development and delivery of a Palmer amaranth integrated management model; a decision-support tool to help growers, private industry and agency personnel, –adopt integrated pest management tactics for managing herbicide resistant Palmer amaranth.

Assistant Professor Michael Brewer was thankful for the sugarcane aphid grant and said that it will help him conduct research to find ways to manage and control the infestations of sugarcane aphids that are currently affecting sorghum.

“I greatly appreciated the sponsorship. We (entomologists and plant breeders, researchers and Extension specialists) will be able to work together to address sugarcane aphid on sorghum as a team,” Brewer said. “We will be able to work together to find the best insecticide use, biological control, and sorghum resistance to limit damage from this aphid.”

To view the USDA announcement and the list of funded grants, visit
http://www.nifa.usda.gov/newsroom/news/2014news/10233_ipm_grants.html.

For more information on specific grants, visit: http://www.nifa.usda.gov/newsroom/news/2014news/10_23_crop_pro_ps

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