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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Tifton, Georgia » Crop Genetics and Breeding Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #390362

Research Project: Genetic Improvement and Cropping Systems of Warm-season Grasses for Forage, Feedstocks, Syrup, and Turf

Location: Crop Genetics and Breeding Research

Title: Impact of management on bermudagrass stem maggot damage

item BAXTER, LISA - University Of Georgia
item Anderson, William - Bill
item HUDSON, WILL - University Of Georgia

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/20/2021
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary: not required

Technical Abstract: Since it was discovered in South Georgia in the summer of 2010, the bermudagrass stem maggot (BSM; Atherigona reversura Villenueve) has severely damaged bermudagrass (Cynodon dactylon) throughout the Southeastern US. Although the degree of damage depends on the bermudagrass variety, latitude of the farm, and time of year, producers have reported up to an 80% yield loss in late summer. Although strategic pesticide use can effectively suppress the BSM population, it is critical that work continues to address the lack of diversity in available BSM management tools. Six bermudagrass varieties (Alicia, Coastal, Coastcross-II, Russell, Tifton 44, and Tifton 85) were evaluated in a split-block experiment at the Darrell William Research Farm at the Sunbelt Ag Expo in Moultrie. GA. Initially the experiment was designed to determine the impact of the BSM on the most popular varieties grown in the Southeast US. However, we observed that several small management changes lead to big improvements in forage production and consequently reduce the impact of the BSM. Hay production increased substantially, from 5,000 lbs/ac to 11,000 lbs/ac in just three years (P < 0.01).. This productivity was the result of small management changes such as cutting on time, adjusting the harvest height, and better distributing fertilizer across the season. During this period, a reduction in BSM damage was also observed (P < 0.01). Good forage management plays a larger role in BSM than previously thought. Future research will identify which specific forage management strategy enables the forage to best resist BSM damage. Funding for this work was provided by the Georgia Beef Commission.