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Sugarcane Aphids Under Control in Texas Sorghum Crop
USAgNet - 07/02/2014

After rising to alarming numbers, populations of the sugarcane aphid in South Texas grain sorghum have crashed, according to Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service personnel.

"We expect to have a successful harvest beginning in early July, with little or no honeydew from the sugarcane aphids to clog up harvesting equipment," said Danielle Sekula-Ortiz, an AgriLife Extension integrated pest management agent in Weslaco.

Dr. Raul Villanueva, an AgriLife Extension entomologist at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center at Weslaco, said populations have risen again in the past week, but not to levels that should concern growers.

"We're not recommending that growers spray for the sugarcane aphid again this summer," he said. "Many growers are already putting down defoliants to help them harvest."

Sugarcane aphids feed on plant leaves, leaving a sticky waste called honeydew to clog up harvesting equipment, Villanueva said. Once in the grain head, they can keep the grain from maturing, reducing both quality and quantity.

Lower Rio Grande Valley growers have planted some 400,000 acres of grain sorghum, most of which is exported to Mexico as cattle feed.

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