The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service in Nueces and San Patricio Counties will host a Field Crop Symposium from 8:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. Jan. 29 at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center in Corpus Christi. The event will provide information to growers as they begin to make pre-plant preparations for the 2014 growing season. It will also be a good opportunity to obtain CEUs.

While our weather pattern has put some much needed moisture back into the soil profile and has us on a much better footing going into this growing season, some of the problems observed in 2013 have the potential to follow us into this season. Therefore, pest management issues including insect, disease and weed management strategies will be the central focus of the program.

Of particular interest, Mike Brewer will discuss the 2013 Sugarcane Aphid outbreak. An outbreak of an invasive aphid was discovered damaging grain sorghum in many Texas counties including Nueces County and neighboring states last year. The outbreak caused severe damage, with producers and crop consultants estimating 25-50% yield loss and total yield loss in some unprotected fields. Fall populations surviving last week’s chilling temperatures on remnant sorghum of harvested fields and johnson grass have been detected in Nueces County, positioning the aphid for possible outbreaks in 2014.

Cotton root rot is an endemic problem to cotton production and while TopGuard has been extremely useful in the control of cotton root rot; better understanding of its use and application methods are needed. Dr. Thomas Isakeit will give produces an update on his continued work on TopGuard and his efforts in controlling cotton root rot, as well as, provide information on other disease issues of concern to cotton and sorghum growers.

Our final pest issue will focus on herbicide resistant weeds. Dr. Mark Matocha will offer his insight into rotation of chemical mode of actions and other strategies to prevent the continued development of herbicide resistant weed species and suggestions for managing fields that have resistant weed issues.

Prior to lunch, our state soil fertility specialist, Dr. Mark McFarland, will discuss optimizing fertility management in both cotton and sorghum. Pre-plant cotton management will be discussed after the catered lunch.

The symposium will conclude with a presentation on Worker Protection Standards for Agricultural Employers. Those that participate in the symposium will be able to receive 5 Texas Department of Agriculture CEUs (1-L&R, 1-IPM, and 3-Gen). Certified Crop Advisors will also be eligible to receive CEUs for participating in the program. The participation fee of $20 will be charged to attendees and includes a catered lunch. Seating is limited, so attendees are asked to RSVP to the AgriLife Extension office in Nueces County at 361-767-5223 by January 20th.