IN THIS WEEK'S VIDEO AGRICULTURE NEWS, YOU WILL MEET A FARMER, WHO IN SPITE OF A HANDICAP, IS CAPABLE OF DOING THE JOB OF FARMING IN THE DESERT SOUTHWEST, AND A PERSONABLE PERSON, AND A TRIBUTE TO THE U.S. AGRICULTURAL INDUSTRY.
Video From the Field with NAFB Farm Broadcaster George Gatley
MONDAY, OCTOBER 20, 2014
Hotels and motels have long competed for customers on the comfort and amenities of their rooms. Long before cable, Wi-Fi,
coffeemakers and hair dryers entered the picture, more basic things were offered as lures. This month in 1829, the 170-room
Tremont hotel in Boston became the first in young America to be considered a modern, first-class lodging. It was distinguished by
the availability of single rooms, with keys for the guests, and plumbing in the basement bathrooms. Uniquely, the Tremont was gas-
lit, and provided washbowls, pitchers and bars of soap in each room. Today, there are nearly 50,000 hotels and motels across the
country, providing free guest soap as a most trifling amenity.
“European Farm Groups
Asked EU to Approve GM Varieties”
Six European farm groups asked the European Union last week to approve eight genetically modified grain varieties to be used in
food and feed processing before the current commission leaves office on November 1, according to the Hagstrom Report. The
groups said in a joint release that the grains "have scientifically proved to be safe,” and should be approved “to avoid a further
threat to the EU food and feed supply and market balance.” They warned the approval was especially important to the livestock
industry. The groups statement said any further delays will result in a “suicidal situation” for European growth and could lead to a
disruption for food and feed businesses.
Further, the release stated “Regardless of whether they are genetically modified or not, consignments of grain imported to the EU
could be halted at the borders if the authorization process is postponed.” They pointed to that triggering further uncertainty. The
grains in question are: Maize MON 87460, Rapeseed GT 73, Soybean 305423, Soybean MON87708, Soybean MON87705, Soybean
BPS-CV127-9, Maize T2 and Cotton T304-40.
DECREASE IN MILK PRODUCTION AND PRICE FORECAST
Milk production and prices are lowered.
Please click on one of the links above to listen to this audio report
Pacific Region, Fruit & Nut Review
SEPTEMBER CROP COMMENTS – CALIFORNIA
In Sutter County, prune harvest continued. Stone fruit was exported. Olives were maturing normally. Pomegranates and
persimmons were nearing harvest at the end of the first week of September. The Clingstone peach harvest was completed at the
end of the first week of September in Yuba County. Prune orchard cleanup continued, with some prune and peach orchards
removed. Golden kiwi harvest continued. Late varieties of nectarines and peaches were harvested. Table and wine grape harvests
were active. Some growers were still laying raisins while some were picked up during the second and third weeks of September.
Almond and walnut orchards were harvested. Husk fly treatments were applied to walnut orchards. The pistachio harvest started
and continued throughout the month with good quality reported.
Oranges - The 2014 - 2015 California all orange forecast is 101 million cartons, (2.02 million tons), up one percent from last
season’s revised final utilization.
The 2014 - 2015 navel orange forecast is 81.0 million cartons (1.62 million tons), up 4 percent from last season. California’s navel
orange harvest is underway and growers are expecting good quality fruit.
The 2014 - 2015 Valencia orange forecast is 20.0 million cartons (400 thousand tons), down 9 percent from last season’s crop. The
2013 – 2014 harvest of Valencia oranges continued. Citrus groves were skirted and pruned for insect control.
Lemons - The 2014 - 2015 California lemon forecast is 38.0 million cartons (760 thousand tons), unchanged from last season. Lemon
harvest continued, but slowed toward the end of September.
Grapefruit - The 2014 - 2015 California grapefruit forecast is 8.00 million cartons (160 thousand tons), unchanged from last season’s
crop. The grapefruit harvests remained active
Tangerines - The 2014 - 2015 California tangerine forecast (including mandarins and tangelos) is 32.0 million cartons (640 thousand
tons), up 10 percent from last season.
In the citrus producing areas, high temperatures for the month ranged from the mid to upper 90s. Despite generally heavy and
widespread rainfall, abnormally dry conditions covered the western and a portion of the central citrus producing regions during
most of September. Growers and caretakers were spraying, performing irrigation repair, and pushing trees.
EPA Announces $19.5 Million for Environmental Improvements
on Tribal Lands in Arizona
SAN FRANCISCO – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced $19.5 million in funding to invest in Arizona tribes for
environmental programs, water infrastructure development, community education and capacity building. The announcement was
made at the 22nd Annual Regional Tribal Conference in Sacramento, Calif.
“The federal government is committed to protecting human health and the environment in Indian Country,” said Jared Blumenfeld,
EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “This funding will help conserve precious water resources, create jobs,
and improve the quality of life on tribal lands.”
This year, Arizona tribes will use $16.8 million for a wide variety of water quality projects including watershed protection and
restoration, water and energy efficiency, wastewater reclamation, and treatment systems. The funds also support drinking water
infrastructure, plant operator training, and technical assistance.
This year Ariz. tribes will an additional $2.7 million to continue tribal environmental programs, cleanup open dumps, conduct small
construction projects, targeted community outreach, and community education – the cornerstone of tribal environmental
For example, this year, the Inter-Tribal Council of Arizona will develop a community education video on appropriate solid waste
management and the Gila River Indian Community will clean up five illegal dumpsites on tribal lands, as well as to install
educational and deterrent signage at areas frequently abused by dumpers.
These funds are critical in building the capacity of tribes to carry out environmental work. Because most tribes in the Pacific
Southwest have small governments, one goal of the funding is to assist tribes in developing their ability to establish environmental
protection programs and make informed decisions about issues that impact the health of their people and the quality of their
environment. The funds are used to develop environmental and public health ordinances, and coordinate with adjacent
The EPA’s Pacific Southwest Region is home to 148 tribal nations with half of Indian Country nationwide concentrated in three
states; Indian Country in California, Arizona and Nevada is about equal to area of the six New England states combined.
For more information please visit: http://www.epa.gov/region9/tribal
A Perdue Farms brand is now verified as antibiotic free, made with no antibiotic, ever. The company announced last week its’
Simple Smart brand of fully cooked, frozen breaded products are now USDA Process Verified for being made from chickens raised
with no antibiotics ever, according to Meatingplace. Chairman Jim Perdue said “Consumers are increasingly interested in how their
food is raised and where it comes from, and our USDA Process Verified Programs help us answer those questions,” The No-
Antibiotics-Ever products will begin appearing in the frozen food section of stores in October and November.
The "No Antibiotics Ever" assurance is on all Perdue Simply Smart packages, along with the new "Raised Cage-free in the U.S."
Process Verified claim. The Simply Smart line is also USDA Process Verified for chickens raised on an all-vegetarian diet with no
animal byproducts. The company claims all Perdue products are from chickens that never receive antibiotics for growth promotion
or human-use antibiotics in the feed.
(Click here to view The Produce News)
BEST MANAGEMENT PRACTICE IN WEED CONTROL
USDA is advocating the use of Best Management Practices when it comes to batting herbicide resistant weeds.
Please click on one of the links above to listen to this audio report
Recertification and Training Course
Main # 928-344-7909
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Booth Machinery, Inc.
6565 E. 30th St.
Wednesday, December 3, 2014
Export Exchange 2015 kicks off Monday in Seattle. The event, sponsored by the U.S. Grains Council and the Renewable Fuels
Association, brings export customers to U.S. exporters. Trade teams from 30 top destinations for U.S. corn, barley, sorghum and
their co-products, including distiller’s dried grains will participate in the event, along with U.S. suppliers and agribusiness
representatives from more than 100 organizations.
The conference runs October 20 to October 22 and will feature speakers, educational sessions and networking opportunities for
exporters and their customers. Held every two years by USGC and RFA, Export Exchange is called the nation's premier
international trade conference focused on the export of U.S. coarse grains and co-products.
Rapid intensification of Brazilian beef production
St. Louis, Mo. In response to rising global beef demand, Brazil is set to step up the rapid intensification of its
beef production sector over the next ten years, enabling the industry to expand into higher-value export markets. According to its
latest report “Beefing up in Brazil: Feedlots to Drive Industry Growth,” the Rabobank Food & Agribusiness Research (FAR) and
Advisory group expects Brazil’s feedlot capacity to more than double to 4.5 million head, turning out over 9 million head of fed
cattle annually, and increasing fed beef production by approximately 2.5 million tons per year by 2023.
“The opportunities for Brazilian beef producers, feeders, processors and exporters appear very bright,” explained Rabobank
Analyst Adolfo Fontes. “Expected improvements in productivity and quality in the beef industry will help Brazil increase its
presence in high-value export markets such as Europe, Japan and Korea.”
Brazil is already the world’s second-largest beef producer and the largest exporter. However, the industry remains relatively
inefficient by global standards, with below-average sector productivity and yield parameters, suggesting significant opportunities
exist for improvement.
The outlook for global beef demand in the next decade is promising, as economic and population growth in developing countries
leads to a dietary shift towards higher-protein content meals.
“Brazil is uniquely positioned to fulfil this need, due to the country’s unmatched potential for expanding corn and soybean
production—the two most universally-used ingredients for animal rations,” explained Rabobank Analyst Renato Rasmussen.
However, the report anticipates major changes in beef cattle management and nutrition, will be required, with producers firmly
gravitating towards more intensive production systems. Growing pressure for environmental sustainability, competition for
agricultural land area with grain crops, and the need for scale in order to compensate for high basis and lower margins, are
imposing significant efficiency and growth constraints on pasture-bred beef production.
The answer to Brazil’s need to grow beef production is the intensification of the finishing stage through beef cattle feedlots. The
report predicts intensification will see overall beef production grow at 3.2 percent CAGR over the next decade. Feedlots—as well
as other higher-technology beef production systems—will allow cattle to be slaughtered younger and heavier, resulting in
increased yields and productivity, as well as improved product consistency and quality.
Currently, less than 10 percent of Brazilian beef is raised in feedlots. Rabobank estimates that the total investment needed to
increase the current feedlot capacity by 2.5 million head is between USD 250 million to USD 500 million.
The full report is available to media upon request.
NEW EMPHASIS ON STEWARDSHIP WITH NEW HERBICIDE PRODUCTS
The Environmental Protection Agency is requiring product stewardship for registrants of new herbicide products and genetically modified crops.
Please click on one of the links above to hear this audio report
“Science Magazine Calls Monsanto
a Top Employer”
Science magazine has recognized Monsanto as one of the world’s top employers. Their 2014 ranking has Monsanto sixth in the
magazine’s top employer survey. The survey spotlights the 20 best companies in the biotechnology, biopharmaceutical,
pharmaceutical, and related industries as well as the characteristics that make them great places to work. Monsanto chief
technology officer Robb Fraley said “It’s personally meaningful to see the organization and our people be recognized by Science as
a great employer.” An independent research firm conducted the survey, which polled employees around the world.
Respondents from North America, Europe and the Asia/Pacific Rim rated companies based on 23 characteristics including financial
strength, easy adaptation to change, and a research-driven environment. In Monsanto’s rise to number 6 in 2014 from number 14 in
2013, respondents highlighted Monsanto’s innovative leadership in the industry, its loyal employees and agility in making
necessary changes as characteristics for making the list. Monsanto is the only Missouri-based company to make the global list.
MILK PRODUCER'S COUNCIL WEEKLY UPDATE
October Dairy Market Report
The October issue of the NMPF-DMI Dairy Market Report is attached. It shows that U.S. milk prices are at near record levels for the second time this year, while dairy prices on world markets continue to sink. CME futures indicate the October all-milk price could edge past April’s record.
At the same time, the report says declining exports and slowing growth in domestic use are putting downward pressure on prices. World prices are under pressure from growing milk production in New Zealand and the European Union, coupled with slowing import demand as consumers, particularly in Asia, react to higher retail dairy prices and cooling economies.
The Dairy Market Report is written and produced by the National Milk Producers Federation and sponsored by Dairy Management Inc., in Rosemont. IL.
NATIONAL AGRICULTURE AUDIO NEWS
The Pig Virus P-E-D and shortages of hogs and packing plant workers in Canada may be causing a perfect storm of sorts for U.S.
pork. A greater focus on oil jobs in western Canada and new government restrictions on hog processing plants may put the
squeeze on Canadian hop processing and pork exports. Combine that with the millions of pigs lost to PEDv in the U.S. and
University of Missouri livestock economist Ron Plain says pork economics change
Right Click to Download MP3 File
Among key factors, fewer Canadian hogs coming to the U.S
Right Click to Download MP3 File
U.S. hog slaughter is down nearly five percent from a year ago, largely due to PEDv and tighter supply has led to record high U.S.
hog prices. Plain says the tight North American supplies means less to export…
Right Click to Download MP3 File
U.S. pork exports through August were up just 23.6 percent, compared to a year ago. While Plain says exports turned negative in
the last couple of months and will likely stay lower for the rest of the year.
2014 WORLD FOOD PRIZE LAUREATE
This year’s World Food Prize Laureate is honored for his breakthrough wheat breeding technologies.
Please click on one of the links above to hear the audio
AG Web News
It's only four short weeks until Cotton Incorporated's Crop Management Seminar, be sure to register and reserve your space
today! We've also updated the agenda.
Cotton Incorporated invites you to attend our upcoming 2014 Crop Management Seminar. It will be held November 12-13, 2014
at the University of Georgia's Tifton Campus Conference Center in Tifton, GA.
Today's cotton grower faces many challenges to produce a cotton crop. Topping the list are an evolving pest complex and crop
landscape, new and evolving technology, and shifting environmental and economic conditions. The seminar will provide an
opportunity for cotton growers, crop consultants, researchers and extension agents working on solutions to discuss the events
of the current growing season, exchange ideas, share information, and learn about new technologies on the horizon. Audience
participation is important to the success of this seminar.So, please come prepared to voice your opinions, ask questions, and
join in the discussions.
The link below contains all the information you need to make your plans (a draft agenda, hotel information, registration, etc.).
There is no registration fee; however space is limited so register early.
Be an Early Bird Registrant and Receive a Gourmet Gift!
The first 100 people to register via our website will be rewarded with a 3-bottle Gift Box Set of gourmet flavored cottonseed oils!
TOTAL MEAT PRODUCTION RAISED FROM LAST MONTH
While total meat production for 2014-15 is increased, beef is up for both years, while pork is lowered in 2014 and raised in 2015.
Please right click on one of the links above to listen to the audio
DROVER'S CATTLE NETWORK
State cattlemen’s groups to USDA: Hands off the checkoff
How do cattlemen across the country feel about U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack’s idea to create a second Beef Checkoff Program? A letter from 45 state cattlemen's groups tells the Secretary "hands off." FULL STORY »
AG Web CATTLE
Regional Beef News
Make Time to Body Condition Score Cows
1A K-State beef cattle specialist discusses using cow body condition scores now as a guide to managing the cow-calf herd into
the fall and winter.
Source: Bollen, Lawyer in Control of Northern Beef
The founder of a Los Angeles firm that worked closely with Northern Beef Packers to secure $30 million in financing in 2009
and 2010 said the since-bankrupt Aberdeen, S.D., packing plant was under the complete control of Joop Bollen and lawyers
from Hanul Law Firm, James Park of Los Angeles and Si-Il Jang of South Korea.
Acclimating Calves is Important First Step
It is important to prepare calves for backgrounding or feeding for their success.
Grazing Alfalfa in the Fall
Many growers find that grazing alfalfa in the fall provides some special flexibility that often is useful this time of year.
National Geographic Announces Multiyear Initiative Focusing on Food
The National Geographic Society announces a multiyear commitment to exploring issues relating to food security and how we
create sustainable food systems.
Animal Welfare Institute Requests Revision of NCBA Standards
Organization finds US. beef cattle industry’s animal care standards inadequate.
Replacing Hay With Corn-Based Feeds in Winter Cow Diets
Replacing hay in your ration with corn this winter could be beneficial.
Lower Feed Costs, Less Production Lead to Record Livestock Prices
The marketing outlook for cattle is basically a continuation of the last couple years, with more record prices.
First Transdermal Non-steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drug for Cattle
MSD Animal Health today introduced FINADYNE® Transdermal (flunixin meglumine) Pour-on solution which delivers consistent
efficacy proven to reduce pyrexia (fever) associated with bovine respiratory disease (BRD).
North Texas Cattleman’s Conference set for Oct. 24
The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service in Denton County and the Denton County Extension Agriculture Committee, in
conjunction with Cooke, Grayson, Collin and Fannin counties, is hosting the North Texas Cattleman’s Conference.
RESEARCH in AGRICULTURE
ARS postdoctoral researcher Dong Cha (left) and ARS entomologist Peter Landolt have isolated chemicals from wine and vinegar that attract Drosophila flies. Click the image for more information about it.
Fruit Pest's Favorite Aromas
Turned Against It
A blend of odors that attracts spotted wing drosophila flies (SWD) has been developed into a new lure product for improved monitoring and control of these tree-fruit and berry pests.
The blend is a combination of four different chemicals found in the aromas of both wine and vinegar. U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) entomologist Peter Landolt and research associate Dong Cha, along with their Oregon Department of Agriculture colleagues, isolated the chemicals and evaluated them extensively in laboratory and field trials.
Based on those findings, Trece, Inc., in Adair, Oklahoma, commercially formulated the compounds into a novel blend and controlled-release lure, which is marketed under the trademark "PHERO-CON SWD," along with a related trap.
According to Landolt, with USDA's Agricultural Research Service (ARS) in Wapato, Washington, farmers and pest managers need improved methods of attracting, monitoring and managing the flies to prevent potential losses of cherries, berries, grapes and other fruit crops. The lure's availability should provide growers with better information to use in making pest-management decisions, such as where, when or whether to spray.
Left unchecked, female SWD flies deposit their eggs beneath the surface of host fruit, where subsequent larval feeding causes it to soften, bruise and wrinkle, notes Landolt, who is in the ARS Fruit and Vegetable Insect Research Unit at Wapato.
Capturing SWD with lures containing wine and vinegar isn't a new approach. But Landolt's group was first to conduct a top-down examination of which chemical constituents in the liquids' aromas attract specifically these flies.
In extensive testing, they showed that ethanol alone was less attractive than wine, and acetic acid alone was less attractive than vinegar. Similarly, combinations of ethanol and acetic acid were also less attractive to the flies than wine-plus-vinegar blends, which suggested that other constituents were at work. Of 20 total Chardonnay wine and rice-vinegar chemicals the researchers evaluated, acetoin and methionol triggered the strongest responses in the flies when combined with acetic acid and ethanol.
ARS is USDA's chief intramural scientific research agency, and this research supports the USDA priority of promoting international food security.
ARS research is helping improve production of ethanol from switchgrass. Click the image for more information about it.
Studies Steadily Advance
Cellulosic Ethanol Prospects
The potential for producing cost-effective cellulosic ethanol that uses plentiful and sustainable cellulosic plant biomass continues to grow, thanks to research at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists at the Bioenergy Research Unit in Peoria, Illinois, have recently completed studies on multiple approaches that could help streamline cellulosic ethanol production. ARS is USDA's chief intramural scientific research agency, and this work supports USDA's priority of finding new sources for producing bioenergy.
In one study, a team led by ARS chemical engineer Bruce Dien looked at using switchgrass, a perennial grass native to the prairie, for ethanol production. The team concluded that biomass producers could optimize cellulosic ethanol production by planting Kanlow variety—a lowland ecotype—and harvesting at either mid-season or post frost. Results from this study were published in Environmental Technology in 2013.
ARS chemist Michael Bowman led another study of switchgrass xylans, which is challenging to convert to sugars with enzymes because of its complex chemical structure. Bowman determined that structural features of xylan remained the same as the plant matures, even though the amount of xylan changed with maturity. This is good news for biorefiners, because it suggests that they can use the same biomass hydrolyzing enzymes to break down xylans in all switchgrass biomass, no matter when the crop is harvested. Results from this study were published in Metabolites in 2012.
ARS molecular biologist Ronald Hector led work on the microorganisms needed to ferment xylose—molecules that make up xylans—into ethanol. Distiller's yeast used by corn ethanol producers does not ferment xylose. An enzyme called D-xylose isomerase, or XI, catalyzes the missing metabolic step for fermentation of xylose to ethanol. Hector's team isolated four novel XI genes encoding the enzyme from rumen and intestinal bacteria and expressed them in distiller's type yeast strains, conferring the ability for them to ferment xylose.
Then the scientists took the most promising yeast strain from this first round of trials and improved its growth and fermenting capacities through further adaptations. The result was a yeast strain that grew almost four times faster than other strains that contained XI enzymes and one that could produce ethanol at significantly greater yields than other yeasts engineered to ferment xylose to ethanol. The scientists published their findings in Biotechnology for Biofuels in 2013.
Latest Update of USDA National Nutrient Database
for Standard Reference Released
The 2014 update of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 27, has been launched. Containing data for more than 8,600 food items, the database is compiled by scientists at USDA's Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center (BHNRC) in Beltsville, Maryland.
Each year, new food-nutrient profiles are added to the database, and existing nutrient profiles are updated using data generated by USDA-ARS through its National Food and Nutrient Analysis Program and collaborations with the food industry and with others.
The Internet "dashboard" that users see after launching the online version of the database has been reorganized so that users can more easily select and view food-nutrient profiles from individual food groups. Another new consumer-oriented upgrade allows users to look up the amount of a specific nutrient within any one of the database's food items. For example, a person whose doctor recommends more dietary fiber might sort all foods by fiber content from highest to lowest. A consumer who wants to increase calcium intake might sort by calcium content of foods.
To use the new feature, click on "Start your search here" at ndb.nal.usda.gov. Next, select "Nutrients List" from the menu options at the top. Click "Select nutrient" in the "First Nutrient" box to see a drop-down list of more than 100 nutrients such as protein, calcium, carbohydrate, cholesterol, fats, caffeine and vitamin K. A second and third nutrient also can be selected. Then choose to search either "All Foods" or the "Abridged List," which includes about 1,000 commonly eaten foods in the United States. Next, for the "Food Groups" selection, click on "All Food Groups" or one of the 25 food groups available. Decide whether to sort by "Food Name" or "Nutrient Content" in the next box. Then choose between "Household" and "100 grams" in the "Measure by" box and hit "Go."
The database is managed by scientists at the ARS Nutrient Data Laboratory. ARS is USDA's chief intramural scientific research agency.
An ARS scientist and his colleagues are studying how storage temperatures and times affect the flavor of mandarin oranges.
Protecting the Flavor
of Mandarin Oranges
Sweet, juicy mandarin oranges get their pleasing flavor from a complex blend of natural chemicals. In ongoing experiments, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientist David M. Obenland and co-investigator Mary Lu Arpaia, with the University of California Riverside, are taking a close look at how storage temperatures and the amount of time in storage at packinghouses affect the flavor of these small, colorful oranges.
Their research is among the most extensive of its kind for this specialty fruit. To date, their tests have involved working with the peeled fruit or juice of more than 19,000 fresh mandarin oranges that were harvested from at least a half dozen research and commercial orchards in California. That state produces the bulk of the nation's harvest of tangerines, clementines, and other kinds of mandarins.
Most of that fruit probably spends at least some time in cold storage, followed by a period of warmer storage, according to Obenland, who is with Agricultural Research Service’s (ARS) San Joaquin Valley Agricultural Sciences Center in Parlier, California. ARS is USDA’s chief intramural scientific research agency.
His research with Arpaia addresses each phase separately, an approach that apparently has made the studies unique among most other published mandarin flavor investigations.
One of their experiments has shown that cold storage temperatures influence the flavor of the classic W. Murcott Afourer oranges, often referred to simply as W. Murcott mandarins, but not the flavor of the Owari variety.
In other work, the researchers found that significant changes in several flavor-associated chemicals occurred soon after W. Murcott mandarins were brought out of cold storage. In brief, significant increases in three chemicals (ethyl acetate, ethyl propanoate and ethyl 2-methylpropanoate) that belong to a class known as ethyl esters occurred within the first 24 hours after the mandarins were moved from 41-degree Fahrenheit storage into 68-degree Fahrenheit storage. Significant increases in a fourth ethyl ester, ethyl 2-methylbutanoate, took place a day later.
All four ethyl esters are thought to contribute to a sweet, fruity aroma, which may have a role in what is perceived as flavor. However, it has been suggested that high levels of these four compounds may contribute to off-flavor. The team's ongoing studies might help pinpoint optimal levels of the four chemicals.
Read more about this research in the October 2014 issue of Agricultural Research magazine.
Obenland, Arpaia, ARS statistician Bruce Mackey at Albany, California, and Arpaia’s University of California colleagues Sue Collin and James Sievert published these findings in the journal Postharvest Biology and Technology in 2011 and 2013.
Financial support for the research has come from the California Citrus Research Board, a grant from the U.S. Israel Binational Research and Development Fund, and ARS.
ARS scientists are field testing a new disease-resistant rainbow trout. Photo courtesy of U.S. Geological Survey, Bugwood.org.
Detecting and Preventing Disease
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists are taking their studies to the field to gauge the survival rate of a new line of rainbow trout that is resistant to bacterial cold-water disease.
The disease often kills young, smaller cold-water fish species and impairs growth and yield in larger, older fish. In addition to developing a disease-resistant trout line, researchers at the Agricultural Research Service's (ARS) National Center for Cool and Cold Water Aquaculture (NCCCWA) in Leetown, West Virginia, created a susceptible line and a control line to use in studies.
Molecular biologist Greg Wiens and geneticist Timothy Leeds at NCCCWA recently evaluated the three trout lines in field trials. Partnering with the aquaculture industry and government stakeholders, they measured performance of trout under farm conditions before and after natural exposure to the pathogen Flavobacterium psychrophilum, which causes bacterial cold-water disease. The rate of survival for the disease-resistant line was higher, and fewer disease-resistant fish harbored the pathogen in their internal tissues compared with the control and susceptible fish.
A highly sensitive real-time polymerase chain (PCR) reaction test, developed by Wiens and postdoctoral fellow David Marancik, was used to confirm that the resistant trout line did not harbor any detectable pathogen. The PCR recognizes a unique gene sequence found only in pathogen and accurately measures small amounts of it in fish tissue.
In other studies, scientists identified a genetic link between a physical trait—spleen size—and specific disease resistance in fish. Wiens and research geneticist Yniv Palti found common genetic regions in trout that influence both spleen size and disease resistance, and they are conducting further research to identify the genes that are responsible.
Read more about this research in the October issue of Agricultural Research magazine.
ARS is USDA's chief intramural scientific research agency, and this research supports the USDA priority of promoting international food security.
ARS researchers have identified compounds that can cause odors in cow manure. Photo courtesy of NRCS-USDA.
Sniffing Out the Source
of Beef Manure Odor
A recent study conducted by U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists indicated that just three compounds in beef manure were responsible for generating over two-thirds of detectable odors.
These findings by ARS agricultural engineers Bryan Woodbury and John Gilley could help with developing techniques for controlling objectionable odors from manure used to amend crop fields. ARS is USDA's chief intramural scientific research agency, and this work supports USDA's priority of responding to climate change.
Woodbury and Gilley conducted a comprehensive study to identify compounds responsible for beef manure odor and to evaluate how land application practices, diet, soil moisture and application procedures affect odor emissions. The team used manure collected from feedlot pens where cattle consumed diets containing 0, 10, or 30 percent wet distillers grain solubles. The scientists also evaluated two application methods—no-till surface manure application or disk tillage that incorporated manure into the soil—and collected air samples before and after water was added to the soil to assess the effect of moisture levels on emissions.
Beef cattle manure was applied at levels that provided 135 pounds of nitrogen per acre, which met the 1-year nitrogen requirement for corn. After collecting and analyzing the air samples, the researchers determined that two volatile fatty acids—isovaleric acid and butyric acid—and the aromatic compound 4-methylphenol were responsible for over two-thirds of detectable beef manure odors. Most of these odors were released within 24 hours after manure was applied to the soil.
Incorporating the manure into the soil and irrigating afterwards reduced most of the odor compounds that were measured. But the manure needed to be incorporated almost immediately after being applied to obtain the most effective odor mitigation.
The importance of tilling manure into soil was highlighted by emission measurements the researchers obtained for 4-methylphenol. The greatest emissions of this compound occurred from dry soils on no-till plots and were sometimes as much as 10 times greater than similar emissions from tilled soils.
Woodbury works for the ARS Nutrition and Environmental Management Research Unit in Clay Center, Nebraska, and Gilley works for the ARS Agroecosystem Management Research Unit in Lincoln, Nebraska. They published their research in the Journal of Environmental Quality in 2013.
ARS researchers have discovered that weather-reporting Doppler radar can also track corn earworms.
Tool Helps Track Insects
Blowing In the Wind
Corn earworms, also known as cotton bollworms, migrate at night, making them notoriously hard to track. Farmers worried about controlling infestations have to make educated guesses about the pest's movements, based on reports from other areas and past experience. Guessing wrong can be expensive: The pest costs cotton producers an estimated $200 million a year.
U.S Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists in College Station, Texas, have shown that signals routinely collected by the National Weather Service's (NWS) Doppler radar network could serve as an early-warning system to track corn earworms and other nighttime traveling pests.
Agricultural Research Service (ARS) meteorologists John Westbrook and Ritchie Eyster at the Southern Plains Agricultural Research Center in College Station focused on the capabilities of what is known as Next Generation Weather Radar, or NEXRAD.
With more than 150 ground-based installations across the United States, NEXRAD monitors weather conditions by sweeping the atmosphere every 5 to 10 minutes and reading the energy reflected by rain, snow and other precipitation. Algorithms normally remove energy reflected by flying insects, but scientists have used NEXRAD and other radar signals to track birds, bats, and insects.
Westbrook and Eyster obtained 15 days of NEXRAD data from the NWS installation at Brownsville, Texas, to see if they could use it to make aerial counts of corn earworm moths and determine their movement patterns during peak migration times from cornfields in the Lower Rio Grande Valley.
The researchers measured radar properties associated with aerial concentrations of moths at heights of up to 3,900 feet, using archived NEXRAD data collected in 1996. They compared it with data from the same time period previously collected by Wayne Wolf, a retired ARS agricultural engineer, with a scanning "X-band" radar system. Unlike NEXRAD, which is constantly operating, the scanning X-band system is specifically designed to track insects, but must be set up and monitored each time it's used. NEXRAD data is publicly available and can be used without any positioning or monitoring cost, so it would be less expensive.
The results showed that NEXRAD was not only capable of tracking insect migration patterns, but also was superior to the X-band system because it offered a larger detection range and could determine the direction and speed of the insects. The results of this work were published in the International Journal of Biometeorology (April 2013).
More work is needed, but recent upgrades should make it easier to use NEXRAD radar to identify potential corn earworm infestations. Also, with refined algorithms, it should be able to track beet armyworms, grasshoppers, and other large-bodied insects.
Read more about this research in the September 2014 issue of Agricultural Research magazine.
ARS research shows that spring is the optimal season for applying poultry litter to corn fields in the South and Southeast and can improve crop yields. Click the image for more information about it.
Choosing the Right Season
for Applying Chicken Litter in the South
Using poultry litter as fertilizer is a welcome trend in many southern states because that is where most of the U.S. broiler chickens are produced. The litter's nitrogen content helps boost crop yields, and also helps reduce farmers' expenses for commercial fertilizers. But a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) agronomist has found that many farmers in Mississippi may be applying litter at the wrong time of year.
Farmers in Mississippi often apply poultry litter in the fall, months before planting cash crops in the spring, because it's cheaper then and they have more time than in the spring. But Haile Tewolde, an Agricultural Research Service (ARS) agronomist at Mississippi State, Mississippi, has found that spring is the optimal season for applying litter in the South and Southeast. ARS is USDA's chief intramural scientific research agency.
Tewolde and his colleagues applied poultry litter in the spring and fall to test plots of corn planted each April for three years. They applied the litter at two rates—four tons per acre and eight tons per acre—and incorporated it into the soil by "disking," a process that turns the soil and pulverizes it so that the litter blends in with the soil. For comparison, the researchers applied nitrogen fertilizer to other test plots in the spring and fall.
The results showed that over three years, yields were cumulatively higher in plots with litter applied in the spring than in the fall, regardless of the application rate. At the four-ton rate, spring-application yields were 16.7 percent higher, and at the eight-ton rate, they were 12.8 percent higher.
The results also showed that while using litter produced less corn than using fertilizer in the first year, those results were reversed in the second and third years. Higher yields in the second and third years were likely because nitrogen in the litter applied during the first year stayed in the soil and benefited crops in subsequent years.
The results, published in 2013 in the Agronomy Journal, show that if growers stick with litter for more than a year, their yields will improve. Yields also will be enhanced if they apply that litter in the spring.
ARS researchers have identified two new biological controls for tumbleweed, which is a nasty problem in the American West. Photo courtesy of Forest & Kim Starr. Click the image for a 300 dpi download.
to Tackle Weedy Menace of American West
Beneficial fungi could become microbial marshals tasked with wrangling a weedy icon of the American West, Salsola tragus—also known as tumbleweed or Russian thistle.
Popularly depicted in movies and television tumbling through dusty towns of the Old West, tumbleweed is in fact one nasty hombre of the western American landscape, elbowing aside crops, clogging irrigation ditches, spreading insect pests, and even posing a driving hazard.
Large-scale infestations, especially on low-value agricultural lands, can make chemical or cultural control too costly or impractical, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) plant pathologist Dana Berner. He works at the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Foreign Disease-Weed Science Research Unit in Frederick, Maryland. ARS is USDA's chief intramural scientific research agency.
In studies at Frederick, Berner and his colleagues are evaluating certain fungi with potential to biologically control tumbleweed, an invasive species that entered the United States in the 1870s as a flax seed contaminant.
Their most promising fungal candidates, Uromyces salsolae and Colletotrichum salsolae, were originally isolated from infected thistle plants in Russia and Hungary and exported to the ARS Frederick lab under permit for quarantine study. In Biosafety Level-3 greenhouse containment, the researchers exposed plant specimens from 64 different species to U. salsolae and 89 species to C. salsolae and gauged the plants' reactions and disease symptoms, if any.
To broaden the scope of their host-range tests—critical to ensuring the fungi won't harm non-target plants or crops once released—the team used an approach called BLUPs, short for "mixed model equations that produce Best Linear Unbiased Predictors." Using a disease ranking system and matrix information, BLUPs predict a plant species' susceptibility based on how genetically similar it is to the targeted weed—Russian thistle, for example.
Based on the information, the researchers have submitted petitions seeking recommendation for release of the two fungi from the Technical Advisory Group for Biological Control Agents of Weeds, which comprises members from federal and state regulatory agencies, as well as from Canada and Mexico.
ARS researchers have identified compounds from extracts of bacteria that live inside beneficial nematodes that can suppress pecan scab (shown on left), a major fungal disease affecting pecan production in the southeastern United States.
Compound from Bacteria
Could Be Useful Against Pecan Scab
Bacteria that live inside the guts of tiny nematodes could hold the key to controlling pecan scab, a major fungal disease that affects pecan production in the southeastern United States.
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists discovered nematode-dwelling bacteria that produce chemical compounds that control the fungus Fusicladium effusum, which causes pecan scab.
Agricultural Research Service (ARS) plant pathologist Clive Bock, entomologist David Shapiro-Ilan, chemist Charles Cantrell, and plant pathologist David Wedge examined chemical extracts of the bacteria to identify the major components responsible for suppressing pecan scab. ARS is the USDA’s chief intramural scientific research agency, and this research supports the USDA priority of promoting international food security.
Bock and Shapiro-Ilan work at the ARS Fruit and Tree Nut Research Laboratory in Byron, Georgia. Cantrell and Wedge work at the ARS Natural Products Utilization Research Unit in Oxford, Mississippi.
The bacteria, according to Shapiro-Ilan, live in the guts of beneficial nematodes in the genera Steinernema and Heterorhabditis. The bacteria are critical in helping the beneficial nematodes kill their insect hosts, and can be grown in petri dishes. Extracts of the cultures contain antimicrobial metabolites that are active against a wide range of microbial pathogens of animals and plants, including bacteria and fungi.
The extract found to be most toxic to the pecan scab fungus was purified and found to contain trans-cinnamic acid. Laboratory test results showed that trans-cinnamic acid was toxic to the pecan scab fungus in amounts as low as 148-200 micrograms per milliliter in solid culture and 64 micrograms per milliliter in liquid culture.
Conventional chemical fungicides have been widely used to control pecan scab, but in some growing seasons, more than 10 sprays are required to ensure adequate control of the disease on susceptible pecan cultivars. As a result, F. effusum has now developed resistance to at least two classes of fungicide, according to Bock.
This work was published in the Journal of Pest Science in March 2014.
As part of the "2,000 Bull Project," ARS geneticist Warren Snelling has identified genetic markers that make it easier to pinpoint cattle that have the hard-to-measure trait of meat tenderness, enhancing breeding decisions. Click the image for more information about it.
"2,000 Bull Project" Targets Cattle Traits
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists are investigating methods to help beef cattle producers further improve genetic evaluations for routinely measured traits such as growth and calving ease. They are also targeting economically important traits like feed efficiency and disease resistance that are expensive or difficult to measure.
In 2007, scientists started the "2,000 Bull Project" at the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Roman L. Hruska U.S. Meat Animal Research Center (USMARC) in Clay Center, Nebraska, to study relationships between genomic variation and economically important traits in 16 breeds. ARS is USDA's principal intramural scientific research agency, and this research supports the USDA priority of promoting international food security.
USMARC geneticists Mark Thallman and Larry Kuehn and their colleagues worked with U.S. cattle breed associations to obtain genomic profiles of 2,000 bulls from those 16 breeds to promote the development of genomic predictions. For each breed, the project provided the first substantial set of high-density genotypes, which are being used by breed associations as a starting point to incorporate genomic data into their breed improvement programs.
Growth is a routine and easily measured trait that is related to increased feed consumption, but an animal's feed efficiency-how much feed is required to produce a unit of growth-is more economically important to producers. However, individual feed intake is not practical to measure on large numbers of animals in commercial operations. Instead, a more feasible approach is to use research populations to develop genomic predictions for traits such as individual feed intake, disease resistance and meat tenderness that are expensive or difficult to measure.
At USMARC, thousands of cattle have been evaluated for such traits, and about 15,000 have been genotyped. The researchers' goal is to detect genomic regions that affect these traits to improve the accuracy of genomic tests available to producers. Also, the scientists are sequencing the genomes of bulls that have the most descendants in the USMARC population, which may lead to more accurate predictions across breeds and benefit the industry.
As part of this effort, geneticist Warren Snelling is focusing on identifying DNA sequence variation that affects gene function to help predict important traits consistently across many breeds. Snelling has demonstrated that this technique can be used to identify genetic markers predictive of meat tenderness.
Read more about this research in the September 2014 issue of Agricultural Research magazine.
ARS researchers and their colleagues have developed a new lure that is seven times more powerful than the current standard for bringing the navel orangeworm, the number one insect pest of almonds, into monitoring traps. Click the image for more information about it.
New Lure Target's Almond Enemy No. 1: Navel Orangeworm
Almond orchard experiments and laboratory tests led by U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists and their colleagues are yielding good news for almond fans and bad news for almond's No. 1 insect enemy, the navel orangeworm. Headed by USDA chemist John J. Beck, the team has developed a promising new combination of all-natural compounds to lure navel orangeworm moths into monitoring traps.
According to Beck, preliminary tests at his Albany, California, laboratory and in two orchards in that state—the nation's leader in almond production—indicate that the experimental lure is at least seven times more powerful than the most commonly used alternative. Beck works at the Western Regional Research Center operated by the Agricultural Research Service (ARS), the chief intramural scientific research agency of USDA.
The new lure's effectiveness is due, at least in part, to its ability to attract both male and female navel orangeworm moths. The conventional lure can't do that.
The monitoring traps in which the new lure might someday be used are typically hung from almond tree branches. Growers and their pest control advisors use the traps to detect incoming navel orangeworm moths and to monitor their numbers, then use that information to determine the best time to apply insecticide. The new lure may provide a more accurate picture of moth numbers within an orchard.
Navel orangeworm larvae that emerge from eggs laid by female moths can damage almonds by feeding on the kernels or by contaminating them with mold-forming Aspergillus flavus or A. parasiticus fungi. The fungi are of concern because they can produce cancer-causing compounds known as aflatoxins. Almond processors spend millions of dollars annually inspecting harvested almonds to keep any nuts that contain unsafe levels of these toxins out of the food supply.
The almond studies help improve food safety and reduce food waste, two USDA top priorities. An article in the August 2014 issue of Agricultural Research magazine has more details about the research.
Beck and Douglas M. Light, Wai S. Gee, and Noreen E. Mahoney, all with ARS at Albany; Daniel D. Cook, with ARS at Logan, Utah; Bradley S. Higbee of Paramount Farming Co., LLC, and other colleagues, conducted the research with funding from ARS, the California Department of Food and Agriculture, the Almond Board of California, the California Pistachio Research Board, and Paramount Farming; and with the assistance of D&D Farms, S&J Ranch, Strain Ranches, Nickels Soil Laboratory, and others.
ARS scientists are using special high resolution photography to improve identification and taxonomic descriptions of tiny Trissolcus wasp species that parasitize stink bug eggs and could have potential as biological control agents. Click the image for more information about it.
Aid Studies of Beneficial Wasps
Using specialized digital photography methods, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists are producing high-resolution images of members of the wasp superfamily Platygastroidea.
Of particular interest is using the images to improve the identification and taxonomic description of one- to two-millimeter-long Trissolcus wasp species that parasitize stink bugs and could have potential as biological control agents. The wasps' larvae hatch and feed inside the bug's eggs, killing them in the process. Some species attack the eggs of the brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB), an invasive pest from Asia that's become established in 39 U.S. states and, in 2010, inflicted $37 million in damage to corn, soybeans, grapes and other crops.
According to Elijah Talamas, a post-doctoral scientist with the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Systematic Entomology Laboratory in Washington, D.C., the photographic process begins with positioning a wasp specimen under a specialized camera with a single-column lens attached to a vertical joist, and then taking stacks of photographs throughout the depth of the specimen.
Each photograph contains a small part of the insect in focus due to the small depth of field at high magnification. The "slices" are then combined into a single, highly detailed digital image magnified up to 100 times the specimen's original size. The image is uploaded to online databases operated by university cooperators and linked to interactive keys, which guide users to specimen descriptions and other information.
Each specimen has a unique identification number—a collecting unit identifier (CUID)—which allows a user to determine the specimen's origin on a species distribution map. Taxonomists can refer to a specific specimen via its CUID without ambiguity, according to Talamas.
His efforts provide valuable taxonomic support to ARS researchers in Newark, Delaware, who are examining the host specificity and safety of several Asian Trissolcus species with potential use in biocontrol release programs against BMSB.
Read more about this work in the August 2014 issue of Agricultural Research magazine.
ARS is the USDA's principal intramural scientific research agency.
ARS has developed and licensed the first sensor that can test peanut moisture levels in the shell and on the fly when farmers take their peanuts to local "buying points." To sell, peanuts must be dried to a kernel moisture of less than 10.5 percent to prevent fungal growth.
Moisture Meter Technology
for In-shell Peanuts Licensed
A new meter that measures the moisture of peanuts inside the shell has been developed by U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists and licensed by a manufacturer of instruments for use in agriculture. The moisture-sensing meter was invented by Agricultural Research Service (ARS) engineers Samir Trabelsi and Stuart O. Nelson (retired) in the ARS Quality and Safety Assessment Research Unit at Athens, Georgia.
ARS is USDA's chief intramural scientific research agency, and this research supports the USDA priorities of promoting international food security and ensuring food safety.
Peanuts need to be dried to a kernel moisture content of less than 10.5 percent for storage purposes because higher moisture levels can lead to fungal growth. The meter is based on patented low-power microwave sensing technology and an algorithm that produces a crop-specific moisture calibration equation, also developed by Trabelsi. The equation is used to customize an individual meter for use with a specific crop type.
When a sample material is exposed to microwaves, part of the wave is transmitted and part is reflected, providing the individual "electrical signature" of the sample material being tested. The patented calibration method uses this information to produce a moisture calibration equation that is programmed into the meter.
U.S. peanuts are required by the USDA to be inspected at local peanut "buying points," and farmers take their peanuts there to be weighed, cleaned, inspected, graded, and ultimately purchased. During peanut grading, inspectors determine quality factors such as peanut size, shell size, peanut damage, levels of foreign material, , and kernel moisture levels. If the kernel moisture level is too high, the sample is marked "no sale," and the corresponding lot of peanuts has to be further dried.
Trabelsi worked under an agreement with Dickey-John Corporation, based in Auburn, Illinois, a wholly owned subsidiary of TSI Incorporated, based in Shoreview, Minnesota, to build a working prototype of the latest version of the patented in-shell peanut moisture sensor. Marketing research and evaluations are being conducted to get a better sense of what more is needed to bring the meter to commercial markets, according to Beau Farmer, chief technology officer with TSI.
ARS scientists have developed a more efficient way to test for Marek's disease and a new vaccine, called CVRM2, to protect chickens against the viruses that cause it. Click the image for more information about it.
Test Alteration Simplifies Diagnosis
of Poultry Diseases
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists have found a way to make it easier to detect two serious poultry diseases by modifying an already available test.
The two diseases, avian reticuloendotheliosis and Marek's disease, are highly contagious and can cause cancer-like diseases, production losses and death in birds. Marek's disease usually affects young adult chickens, while reticuloendotheliosis infects chickens as well as other poultry—turkeys, ducks, geese and quail.
Aly Fadly, research leader of the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Avian Disease and Oncology Laboratory (ADOL) in East Lansing, Michigan, modified a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay to detect unique genetic sequences of the viruses that cause the diseases.
Diagnosing diseases involves taking tissue from the bird's affected organs, preserving it, and identifying the virus by microscopic examination, which most laboratories are equipped to do. However, if a definitive diagnosis cannot be reached, fresh or frozen tissue from affected birds must be obtained and sent to the laboratory for further testing.
The modified PCR allows diagnostic laboratories to extract virus DNA from preserved tissues to detect the two diseases. It offers an effective alternative to current cumbersome biological and molecular tests that require frozen or fresh tissue samples, according to Fadly. In addition, there is no need to rush more expensive frozen tissues to laboratories. That's because samples are preserved in formalin, a cheap, readily available solid. Samples preserved in formalin can be shipped by ground mail, making the process less expensive.
In other research, ADOL scientists are developing vaccines to help prevent the spread of Marek's and other avian diseases. They have developed a new vaccine, called CVRM2, which effectively protects chickens against Marek's disease viruses. ARS recently approved a license agreement with a private company to make CVRM2 into a commercial vaccine.
ARS is USDA's principal intramural scientific research agency, and this research supports the USDA's priority of promoting international food security.
ARS researchers have found insect-killing nematodes like this small roundworm tend to move together as a group like a school of fish or a pack of wolves, behavior that may contribute to the patchy distribution, or clumping, of natural or applied entomopathogenic nematode populations that is seen in crop fields. Click the image for more information about it.
Ins and Outs of Beneficial Nematode Movement
Tiny worms called nematodes don't move randomly through the soil, but instead find their way around by relying on electrical fields, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists.
A research team led by Agricultural Research Service (ARS) entomologist David Shapiro-Ilan and plant pathologist Clive Bock at the agency's Fruit and Tree Nut Research Laboratory in Byron, Georgia, found that the nematode Steinernema carpocapsae was attracted to an electrical current they applied to an agar dish. Based on that lab study, they concluded the worms rely on electricity, or electrical fields, to help them navigate in the soil. They then hypothesized that the nematodes may also use magnetic fields for the same purpose.
ARS is USDA's chief intramural scientific research agency, and this research supports the USDA priority of promoting international food security.
They tested their theory of magnetic fields by placing magnets on opposing sides of a petri dish containing agar and S. carpocapsae nematodes. One magnet was oriented toward the North Pole and the other magnet was oriented to the South Pole. The research team noted a directional response of the nematodes, with more of them moving toward the South Pole than the North.
This movement in response to magnetic fields, called magnetoreception, can be important in facilitating or enhancing foraging ability in various organisms. The research was published in the International Journal for Parasitology.
The scientists also looked at the movement of six different entomopathogenic (insect-killing) nematode species and found that their movement was not random. Instead, the worms moved together as a group. According to Shapiro-Ilan, this type of movement was like group behavior in other animals, such as a school of fish or a pack of wolves.
Based on these findings, the researchers contend that aggregated movement behavior may further contribute to a patchy distribution, or clumping, of natural or applied entomopathogenic nematode populations that is seen in crop fields. These findings were also published in the International Journal for Parasitology.
The studies have implications for understanding nematode foraging behavior and improving natural pest control tactics. Knowledge of how and why beneficial nematodes find their prey is essential to optimizing their use in biocontrol programs in the future.