A team of agricultural scientists across the Southeast are using a $1.8 million U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Research Service (ARS) grant to study the impact of aphids in sorghum crops.Michael Toews, an entomologist with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, is among the scientists on the five-year project, which is a collaborative effort among multiple institutions throughout the Southeastern Coastal Plain region including UGA, USDA ARS, Fort Valley State University, Auburn University, Clemson University, North Carolina University and the University of Florida.The grant funds graduate students, technical support, fertilizer and crop inputs, analytical testing, lab supplies and general applied field research work.According to Toews, multiple scientists are needed to work on the problem because the sugarcane aphid is a difficult pest to manage on sorghum in the Southern U.S.“We frequently collaborate with scientists across the region and across disciplines to solve particularly vexing problems and this is one where we need the expertise of lots of people,” said Toews. “Grant support enables us to put in a tremendous effort in a short period of time across the region, the Southeastern states, and with a really intense focus that enables us to make a lot of progress synergistically.”Researchers who are part of the grant will examine insecticide seed treatments, proper timing of insecticide applications, host plant resistance, and biological controls including predators and entomopathogens, which is a group of naturally-occurring fungi that kill aphids.These tests will provide growers with short-term solutions, thus allowing farmers to produce a crop. However, Toews hopes the project will result in a more permanent solution to the problems presented by aphids. “In the long term, we need to breed for resistance to this insect so the sorghum plant can withstand the attack from a genetic standpoint,” Toews said. Georgia farmers planted 55,000 acres of grain sorghum in 2014, prior to aphids being discovered in the state. That acreage decreased drastically in subsequent years.“By 2016, Georgia growers only planted 20,000 acres of grain sorghum because the sugarcane aphid was such a devastating pest that cut into profits and the ability to produce a crop,” Toews said.Researchers are also using the grant to study planting dates to determine if planting sorghum earlier or later in the summer will reduce damage caused by sugarcane aphids.The project includes all four types of sorghum grown in Georgia — grain sorghum, forage and silage sorghum, and sweet sorghum.“In the short term, by participating in the UGA Statewide Variety Testing program, we are trying to help farmers identify the best available commercial hybrids for grain, forage and silage sorghum to plant in the coming year, so that the aphids don’t cause serious losses,” said Xinzhi Ni, a USDA ARS entomologist.A portion of the grant money also allows Toews to hire and train future scientists.“This is a great example of how we utilize federal dollars to not only solve problems but also train the next generation of agricultural scientists,” said Toews. “That’s an important part of what we do here at the University of Georgia.”To learn more about what scientists in the UGA Department of Entomology are researching, visit ent.uga.edu.
Ian Wright sends message to Arsenal board over Mikel Arteta following Raul Sanllehi’s departure Advertisement Comment Advertisement Mikel Arteta has made a positive start to his Arsenal tenure (Picture: Getty)The former Arsenal captain has made an encouraging start to his tenure and Wright hopes the decision to axe Sanllehi won’t have any negative repercussions for the former Gunners skipper, tweeting: ‘Protect Mikel at all costs!’Sanllehi’s duties meanwhile, are set to be assumed by managing director Vinai Venkatesham, while the majority of football decisions will be handled by Edu who has only just overseen a major overhaul of the club’s scouting department.More: Arsenal FCArsenal flop Denis Suarez delivers verdict on Thomas Partey and Lucas Torreira movesThomas Partey debut? Ian Wright picks his Arsenal starting XI vs Manchester CityArsene Wenger explains why Mikel Arteta is ‘lucky’ to be managing Arsenal‘I am thankful to Stan, Josh and the rest of the Arsenal Board for their trust in me. I will miss working closely with my colleague and friend Raul, but I am looking forward to this new challenge,’ said Venkatesham.‘There is much work to do to return Arsenal to the top of the game where we belong, which is what our fans rightly demand. While this will not happen overnight, I believe we have many of the critical ingredients to do so. There are many positives to build on across the club.‘While football faces uncertainties ahead as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, I am confident Arsenal will emerge strongly and look forward with confidence.’MORE: Lille president Gerard Lopez confirms Arsenal and Manchester United target Gabriel Magalhaes’ imminent departureMORE: Arsenal confirm head of football Raul Sanllehi has left the clubFollow Metro Sport across our social channels, on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.For more stories like this, check our sport page. Metro Sport ReporterSaturday 15 Aug 2020 1:30 pmShare this article via facebookShare this article via twitterShare this article via messengerShare this with Share this article via emailShare this article via flipboardCopy link434Shares Raul Sanllehi oversaw Mikel Arteta’s appointment as Unai Emery’s replacement as Arsenal head coach (Picture: Getty)Ian Wright has urged Arsenal’s new-look leadership team to ‘protect’ Mikel Arteta at all costs following the sudden departure of Raul Sanllehi. Arsenal confirmed the club’s head of football was set to vacate his position on Saturday, just 24 hours after reports emerged that an internal review was set to take place into recent transfer activity. Sanllehi played a fundamental role in the deal which brought Nicolas Pepe to the Emirates last summer in a £72million deal but, according to ESPN, several high ranking figures fear Arsenal wildly overpaid. The former Barcelona chief’s record at Arsenal was a mixed bag overall. He was the driving force in the decision to replace Arsene Wenger with Unai Emery and even considered handing his compatriot a new deal before a calamitous Europa League final defeat against Chelsea. AdvertisementAdvertisementADVERTISEMENTSanllehi corrected his error by helping convince Mikel Arteta to leave Manchester City and begin to repair the damage. read more