Steelman: How to fight insect pests

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Cutworms, thrips and aphids - mostly likely. When it comes to insect infestations, producers have to be realistic and learn how to recognize and deal with those myriad of creatures that can threaten crops and reduce yields and profit.

To help producers fight the state's most prominent insect pests, the University of Tennessee Extension presents the 2013 Insect Control Recommendations for Field Crops (UT Extension PB 1768). This updated publication explores control methods for insects that threaten the state's cotton, soybean, corn, grain sorghum, and wheat crops as well as insects that threaten the state's pastures. The manual provides insect control recommendations that include cultural practices, variety selection, biological control and use of insecticides to manage insect pest populations.

The publication is available online at no charge on the UT Extension publications website:
UT Extension specialists Scott Stewart and Angela McClure, co-authors of the manual, recommend that producers monitor their fields during the growing season for populations of both insect pests and beneficial insects at least weekly. Decisions to apply controls should be based on thorough scouting and identification of pests, cost of insecticide, yield potential and fruit retention goals. Unnecessary applications of insecticide are not cost effective, they say. Applications of insecticides on an as-needed basis will preserve beneficial insects, reducing the likelihood of secondary pest outbreaks.
For more information, producers should consult the publication online, contact the Cannon County UT Extension Office at 563-2554 or e-mail Bruce Steelman at

Tennessee Farm Bureau congratulates Senate on passage of farm bill

The Tennessee Farm Bureau is glad to congratulate the Senate on the passage last evening of the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act (2013 farm bill) after the legislation was agreed upon by a bipartisan vote of 66-27. According to TFBF President Lacy Upchurch, the Senate version of the farm bill will eliminate direct payments to farmers while strengthening needed risk-management tools and a viable economic as well as natural resource safety net.

“The Senate’s vote last evening puts us closer to having a farm bill available for our farmers come August. We do appreciate the Senate’s decision to protect and strengthen the federal crop insurance program and not reduce its funding,” Upchurch said. “We now look forward to working with our Tennessee congressional delegation as the House moves forward with its farm bill legislation. With hopefully their completion coming in the next few weeks, our farmers can have certainty for planting and planning once again for the coming year.”

It’s reported from day one in the debate, agriculture expressed its willingness to rework the farm bill to help reduce the federal deficit, and the budget savings level of $24 billion in this proposed farm bill is a big step toward that goal.


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