Sugarcane aphids are clearly visible on this grain sorghum leaf. A webinar on this relatively new pest will be held Jan. 12 in Corpus Christi. Growers can also attend in person or online.
Sugarcane aphids are clearly visible on this grain sorghum leaf. A webinar on this relatively new pest will be held Jan. 12 in Corpus Christi. Growers can also attend in person or online.

Coastal Bend grain sorghum growers are encouraged to participate in a Jan. 12 webinar session, either in person or online, to learn the latest research-based information gathered on sugarcane aphids.

The Coastal Bend Sugarcane Aphid Update Webinar will be held from 1-3 p.m. at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center at Corpus Christi, 10345 State Highway 44, according to Jason Ott, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service agent for agriculture and natural resources in Nueces County.

Growers can attend in person or online at https://texasrangeclassroom.adobeconnect.com/coastalbend .

“Much has been learned about the sugarcane aphid since it was first observed on grain sorghum in South Texas in 2013,” Ott said. “We’ll be discussing all we learned in the 2014 growing season to help growers in the upcoming season, as well as the information and research that continues to be compiled on what is now the most important pest of grain sorghum.”

Sugarcane aphids reduce yields, but they also create abundant sticky waste called “honeydew” that can delay harvest by gumming up harvest combines, Ott said. At least 11 southern states, including Texas, have reported sugarcane aphid infestations on grain sorghum.

The webinar will feature presentations from AgriLife entomologists along the Coastal Bend, “highlighting their efforts to better understand this pest and their current understanding of best management practices for control,” he said.

Among the speakers will be two AgriLife entomologists at the Corpus Christi center. Dr. Robert Bowling, AgriLife Extension, will provide a review of the sugarcane aphid, and Dr. Michael Brewer, Texas A&M AgriLife Research, will discuss sampling strategies and action thresholds. Stephen Biles, AgriLife Extension integrated pest management agent in Port Lavaca, will discuss the results of insecticide efficacy studies conducted on the upper Texas Gulf coast last year.

“The results of these trials have given us a better understanding of when a treatment is necessary, as well as treatment alternatives to the insecticide Transform,” Ott said. “Additionally, several grain sorghum hybrids have been identified as having some degree of tolerance to the sugarcane aphid. We’ll be discussing how they might be incorporated into a management strategy for this pest.”

The webinar will follow a program earlier in the day, also at the Corpus Christi center, by the National Sorghum Producers on the new farm bill from 7:30-10:30 a.m.

“NSP staff members are scheduled to present the latest farm bill information and analysis, which grain producers are also invited to. This program will help growers navigate the new farm bill, including decisions that will affect their operations well into the future,” Ott said.