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Pest, Disease and Farm Management

Determining the best management practices for pests and disease, as well as efficiently managing resources such as water is pertinent for corn farmers and the environment.

The TCPB funds additional research related to mycotoxins through the Aflatoxin Mitigation Center of Excellence. More information about AMCOE and aflatoxin efforts is available HERE. Listed are current research projects funded directly by TCPB:

Real-time Seasonal Trapping of Southwestern Corn Borer, Western Bean Cutworm, and Fall Armyworm Moth Flights in the Texas Panhandle

Abstract: The goal of this project is to provide current real time information to corn producers, crop consultants, local ag suppliers, and ag-aviators, etc. throughout the Texas High Plains about the activity of Southwestern corn borer (SWCB), Western bean cutworm (WBC) and fall armyworm (FAW) moth flights during the 2016 growing season. A network of thirteen county Extension agents covering 14 Texas High Plains counties from Hale County to Parmer County and up to Dallam County and across to Lipscomb County will monitor pheromone traps in producers fields to determine the weekly moth flight activity of these three corn pests. This real-time information of moth activity will be distributed through several outlets (newspapers, newsletters, radio, websites, text messaging and others) on a timely basis so individuals can make better decisions for managing each of these corn pests.

Investigators: Ed Bynum, Extension Entomologist, Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension, Amarillo; Pat Porter, Extension Entomologist, Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension, Lubbock

Early Season Predatory Mite Releases for Management of Spider Mites in Corn

Abstract: The Banks grass mite (Oligonychus pratensis) and the two-spotted spider mite (Tetranychus urtica) are major pests of corn grown in the Texas High Plains each year. Management of spider mite infestations is primarily dependent on acaricide applications. This is because the relationship of natural predators to spider mites are density dependent. The natural predator population increases lag behind the population buildup of spider mites. So, for most years spider mite infestations can build to damaging infestations before the natural predators reach population levels that will eventually control the spider mite infestations. However, augmentative releases of predatory mites early in the season when spider mite populations are becoming established on corn may be a viable option to prevent mite infestations from increasing to damaging levels later in the season. Therefore, our objective will be to determine the cost effectiveness of early season predatory mite releases for season long spider mite management so acaricide applications can be reduced or eliminated.

Investigators: Ed Bynum, Extension Entomologist, Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension, Amarillo; Olan Moore, High Plains Consulting, Lubbock

Maximizing Corn Yield through Improved Phosphorus Fertilization

Abstract: Banding liquid phosphorus fertilizer allows crop plants to make more efficient use of the relatively insoluble soil nutrient. Plant roots have been shown to respond physiologically to chemical gradients in soil. Root growth toward a concentrated zone of nutrients allows for less energy to be expended by the whole plant by reducing the need to explore a large volume of soil. However, when nutrients are placed too near the surface, periods of limited water will result in limited nutrient availability as well. Crop plants must shift energy to producing more root mass to explore deeper portions of the soil volume for nutrients and water. By placing banded liquid phosphorus fertilizer more deeply, it is possible that root growth may be stimulated to concentrate near the banded zone where both water and nutrients are more likely to be available during periods of water stress. Thus, the plant may conserve energy required for stress response mechanisms other than root growth. This study examines the response of corn rooting patterns, nutrient uptake, stress, and yield to the placement of three rates of liquid phosphorus fertilizer at three depths.

Investigator: Jake Mowrer, Assistant Professor, Texas A&M University

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