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Lower Rio Grande Valley farmers in deep South Texas continue their fight against an explosion of white sugarcane aphids in sorghum fields, which could move into Coastal Bend fields.
San Patricio County AgriLife agent Bobby McCool reports sugar cane aphid infestations in his county. He advises if sorghum is beginning to head out, growers need to scout fields carefully and often. He says if you discover any sticky substance on sorghum leaves, then you will probably find aphids in large numbers on the underside of the leaves.
Pest management specialists say the white sugarcane aphid is translucent at early stages with a pale yellow tint and becomes a little darker yellow as they mature, but they warn growers should not confuse the new pest with the more traditional yellow sugarcane aphid that has been around for a number of years. They warn the new, smaller white sugarcane aphid is more destructive and say populations can grow rapidly once they move into a sorghum field.
While a treatment threshold has not been set, once aphids are discovered on 30 to 40 percent of plants in a field, producers should spray with the recently approved Transform WG. More than one spraying will likely be required in heavily infested fields, and a third treatment may be necessary to prevent heavy crop losses.
On June 4, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and the Nueces County Crops Committee will host a crop tour highlighting area crop production and applied research demonstration being conducted by AgriLife Extension in cooperation with area growers. Officials say this will be an excellent opportunity for producers to obtain hands on information about several emerging issues affecting crop production this year, specifically the current sugarcane aphid invasion.
For more information about the crop tour, contact the Nueces County Extension Office in Robstown at 361-767-5223.