Texas: Plains Pest Management – 6 Scout School, June-Sept.

    Scouting cotton with a sweep net. Photo: Joe Funderburk, University of Florida

    The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service offices of Hale and Swisher counties have a series of six scout training days scheduled from June through September.

    The trainings will  target specific field scouting subjects, agronomic stages, pests and pest management.

    Trainings will begin at 9 a.m. at the Halfway Experiment Station in Hale County, 823 W. U.S. Highway 70, Plainview, and conclude around noon. Spots will be limited to five per date, so RSVP promptly by phone to 806-291-5267 or email to blayne.reed@ag.tamu.edu.

    The trainings are free for AgriLife Extension agents and specialists and $75 per training for the general public. Payment for trainings will be due at the time of service. Checks should be made to Texas Pest Management Association and invoice copies are available upon request.

    “These will beneficial hands-on trainings for early career agriculturalists or field-applied entomologists who will be making or influencing decisions about agronomic pests and agronomic inputs,” said Blayne Reed, AgriLife Extension agent for integrated pest management for Hale and Swisher counties.

    “These individuals need to know how to expeditiously gather field data using sound and scientific field and trial-proven methods. Specifically, they need to know how to gather the right data in order to make correct and economical decisions about production agricultural pests and agronomic inputs.  These are vanishing skills – with few practical places to learn them for newcomers to the field.”

    Reed said it is highly recommended that new field scouts or early agricultural professionals also attend one of the Field Scouting Schools on May 30 in Muleshoe or May 31 in Levelland as an introductory prerequisite to these trainings.

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    Attendees at each of the six training days will go out in the field alongside Reed and learn directly from him and the Plains Pest Management field scouting team.

    “Each field scouting day will have a different focus and we encourage folks to attend whichever topics are most relevant to their needs,” Reed said. “We have scheduled each date to be relevant to the time of season for the crops and pests we’ll be discussing at these hands-on events, Mother Nature permitting.”

    The dates and topics are as follows:

    June 3

    • Cotton stand counts and calculating plants per acre.
    • Assessing hail damage and field viability.
    • Thrips scouting.
    • Cotton true leaf stage monitoring.
    • Weed identification.
    • Early season corn and sorghum scouting.
    • Key beneficial ID.

    June 24

    • Fleahopper and other plant bug scouting techniques.
    • Conducting whole plant cotton inspections.
    • Cotton square ID, mapping and calculating fruit retention/drop.
    • Corn and sorghum early season scouting review.
    • Corn rootworm lookout, and common lep larva ID and current events.
    • Key beneficial ID.

    July 8

    • Lygus and other plant bug scouting in cotton.
    • Calculating nodes above white flower, or NAWF, in cotton.
    • Conducting whole plant inspections and calculating fruit loss on blooming cotton plants.
    • Proper drop cloth use.
    • Early bollworm and secondary cotton pest scouting.
    • Herbicide damage ID in cotton/corn/sorghum/weeds.
    • Calculating fruit loss on blooming cotton.
    • Scouting corn for economic pests.
    • Corn reproductive stages and spotting details to help in managing corn during pollination.
    • Early aphid scouting in sorghum.
    • Key beneficial ID.

    July 22

    • Lygus and early bollworm scouting updates.
    • Measuring NAWF in cotton.
    • Conducting whole plant inspections on blooming cotton.
    • Managing/scouting for quality cotton.
    • Scouting for plant growth regulators, or PGR, needs and proper drop cloth use.
    • Estimating irrigation needs in cotton through data collection.
    • Taking tissue samples.
    • Scouting corn for economic pests and diseases.
    • Sorghum reproductive stages.
    • Scouting sorghum for economic pests.
    • Key beneficial ID.

    Aug. 5

    • Bollworm scouting techniques in cotton.
    • Cotton aphids and other late season secondary pests.
    • Measuring NAWF and determining absolute cut-out in cotton.
    • Determining realistic late-season PGR needs in cotton and measuring for irrigation cut-off dates.
    • Measuring peak bloom/peak water use in cotton.
    • Scouting late reproductive stages in corn and sorghum for pests and diseases.
    • Key beneficial ID.

    Sept. 16

    • Cotton harvest aid scouting.
    • Making cotton yield estimates.
    • Late-season cotton aphid scouting to prevent sticky cotton.
    • Determining the last harvestable boll in cotton, its realistic needs and irrigation termination.
    • Managing cotton regrowth.
    • Measuring late sorghum/corn needs.
    • Late-season sugarcane aphid scouting in sorghum.
    • Sorghum harvest aid scouting.

    Since training dates are subject to change, depending on weather and other factors, leave a preferred contact method when RSVPing. Contact Reed for more information at  806-291-5267.

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