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Friday, March 27, 2015

Spring 2015 Infomation Download

Spring 2015 Information Download

There is a lot of helpful information from Texas A&M AgriLife Extension that can make a big difference in tight growing seasons like this one looks to be.  Knowing where to get access to it can sometimes be difficult.  I will share some of the pressingly pertinent and timely web based information we have available here today.

Looking for information on cotton varieties? 
There is a wealth of information out there, especially here in West Texas.  First I’ll mention Dr. Jane Dever’s Cotton Improvement Program based at the experiment in Lubbock.   To help generate funds for the cotton breeding program, this program runs small plot cotton variety trials that are held in extremely high regard in the cotton breeding industry and with consultants and producers that have been exposed to the body of work.  These trials can have as many as 40 varietal entries and are conducted throughout the region, not just the district.  These trials take a good real world and highly replicated look at each variety with answers about how they will perform in your neck of the woods and throughout the area under a variety of situations which can include late planting, disease pressure, salt pressure, irrigation regimes, row spacing, and sometimes even planting patters.  To get a look at the 2014 results go to: directly or you can go to and look up several season’s worth of the cotton improvement lab’s work. 

The following is a note from Dr. Mark Kelley, Cotton Agronomist for District 2, whose program is famous for large plot cotton variety RACE trials across the region.  He also has his results posted online. 

Cotton Variety Selection

Cotton variety selection is one of the most important, if not the most important, decisions that producers on the Texas High Plains and in the Texas Panhandle make each year.  Luckily, many excellent varieties are available and are suited for this region.  However, not all varieties fit the diverse field conditions and management practices observed in the region.  Variety characteristics, such as maturity (or earliness), plant growth habit, fruiting habit, disease or nematode tolerance, technology traits, and storm tolerance, are just a few of the key considerations, in addition to yield potential and fiber quality.  Selecting varieties for individual fields rather than planting one variety to an entire farm is highly recommended.  Field based factors to consider when making decisions for a variety include, soil type, irrigation capacity and method (if irrigated), fertility level, disease or nematode presence and identity, weed spectrum and herbicide resistance, and tillage practices.  To assist with variety selection, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension and Research, as well as local crop consultants and seed company personnel, conduct many cotton variety tests annually.  These trials/demonstrations are widespread and are conducted under variable field and environmental conditions as well as varying management practices.  Results from multiple locations (and years if possible) should be considered, especially when adopting a new variety.  When planting a variety for the first time, plant a limited number of acres in order to “learn” the response of the variety to field and management practices.  For information on past and recent variety trials conducted by Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, producers may visit the Lubbock Center website at or .  If more information is needed or if questions about particular variety trial results arise, producers are welcome to call me at 806-781-6572 (mob), or 806-746-6101 (ofc).  Below are links to the most recent variety reports from Texas A&M AgriLife Extension and Research:

Concerned about the sugarcane aphid in sorghum?
                Dr. Ed Bynum, District 1 Entomologist, and Dr. Pat Porter, District 2 Entomologist have created a blog related exclusively to the sugarcane aphid.  IPM agents and Specialists from across the State of Texas will be filling this blog anytime they need to publish an article pertaining to the aphid complete with research updates, trouble locations, severity, and the latest on management information.  Please follow the sugarcane aphid blog at:

Like what you see on this quick update and alert blog, but want more detail and firmer recommendations?
                Then please subscribe to our Plains Pest Management Newsletter by calling 806-291-5267 and asking for Audrey or Blayne.  We will get you signed up for our in-season weekly newsletter that will be full of weekly scouting reports, Hale, Swisher, and Floyd pest status, tips on identification, research results, management recommendations, insect population reports, along with countless other IPM topics and photographs.  It’s free and comes via email weekly during the growing season and as needed through the winter and spring months.

Need pest updates, but do not have time to stop and read anything?
                        Sign up for the Pest Patrol Hotline at: and receive text messages whenever I find a pest population worthy of an alert.  When we do find a pest serious enough to warrant an area wide alert, I will phone in to the hotline a pest description, why this pest is a concern, what to look for, an action threshold recommendation, and a short list of solution recommendations.  If you are signed up, you will receive a text message notifying you of a pest alert issued by me and you may answer the message via phone to hear my alert via voice mail format.  Just go to the website and follow the instructions to sign up.

Blayne Reed

Wheat Pest Status March 27, 2015

Wheat Pest Status March 27, 2015

Over the past few days I have been making spot checks in some of our Hale, Swisher, and Floyd County area wheat fields on the way to the office.  All but the latest planted fields are now jointing, in decent shape, and will be looking for some moisture soon.  There is still quite a bit of insect activity in these fields and some potential for pest problems to keep a close eye on.  The greenbugs seem to be the largest threat at this time but there are plenty of other aphid species in this wheat.  I still have not found any Russian wheat aphids but, in speaking with a few area crop consultants, there are a very few in the area.  Dr. Ed Bynum, District 1 Entomologist, is consistently finding them and greenbugs in a little heavier population than us in his area to our north.
To me, our greenbug population seems to be trying to increase during the warm weather we have been having.  The aphid will typically move up the plant to more tender and sensitive areas during better weather and becomes very active in feeding.  Once that happens, the aphid is also more likely to begin reproducing heavily.  In the fields I have been watching, the predator and parasitoid population is holding the greenbugs in check.  The potential and conditions are certainly right for a pest outbreak area wide.  It is more likely that in a fair number of area fields the greenbugs could outpace the beneficial insects.  Our area crop consultants have also made me aware of a few fields that have reached economic levels for greenbugs that have been treated already this week.  The only way to determine if your field is nearing pest problems is thorough and educated scouting.  

    Action Threshold Table for Greenbugs
Plant Height (inches)                      Number of Greenbugs / linear foot
                3 – 6                                                           100 – 300
                4 – 8                                                           200 -  400
                6 – 16                                                         300 – 800

Good Luck,