Agriculture & Natural Resources: Informational Resources & Links

Chiggers – June 2020 Update

As we are spending more time outdoors, here is information on that pesty insect, the Chigger (actually Chiggers are more related to spiders than insects) and ways to prevent becoming a victim.

Click Here to learn more.


Asian Giant Hornet (Murder Hornet)

News stories have sparked the concern about the Asian Giant Hornet (AGH). Here is current information about the AGH and it’s presence – rather its lack of presence in Texas. Learn more about this insect and it’s look-a-likes: CLICK HERE

CLICK HERE to learn how the invasive insect could have been introduced in the Pacific Northwest and why its nickname is ‘murder hornet’.


Highly Contagious Rabbit Disease in Texas

RHDV2 was found in Lampasas and Hamilton Counties. This is a highly contagious, deadly virus, affecting domestic and wild rabbits. Per TAHC mandate, all rabbits in the barns were euthanized and the barn must remain empty for 90 days. Because this virus is now in D8 (Hamilton County), here are some of the recommendations that are being put out by the American Rabbit Breeders Association. At this time, the ARBA is asking breeders close to outbreaks to enact strict bio-security measures to reduce the opportunity of their herds contracting this deadly virus. Rabbit breeders are encouraged to not utilize cross country transport service during this time in an effort to contain the outbreak and protect rabbit populations across the continent.

Per ARBA show rules, a sanctioned show “reserved the right to refuse entries from exhibitors placing an entry from all locations within 150 miles which has had a confirmed outbreak of RCV/RHD/VHD within the past 60 days of the entry deadline.” If the virus continues to spread in our area, this can affect exhibitors’ entries to local breeder shows and the State Fair of Texas.


Watch for Fall Armyworms in Pastures!

With our current climate conditions, forage producers need to be scouting for fall armyworm infestations in their fields. The fall armyworm, Spodoptera frugiperda, is a common pest of bermudagrass, sorghum, corn, wheat and rye grass and many other crops in north and central Texas. Larvae of fall armyworms are green, brown or black with white to yellowish lines running from head to tail. A distinct white line between the eyes forms an inverted “Y” pattern on the face. Four black spots aligned in a square on the top of the segment near the back end of the caterpillar are also characteristic of fall armyworm. Armyworms are very small (1/8 inch) at first, cause little plant damage and as a result infestations often go unnoticed. Larvae feed for 2-3 weeks and full grown larvae are about 1

on nectar and deposit egg masses. A single female can deposit up to 2000 eggs and there are four to five generations per year. Fall armyworm outbreaks in pastures and hay fields often occur following a rain which creates favorable conditions for eggs and small larvae to survive in large numbers. Hay fields with a dense canopy and vigorous plant growth are often more susceptible to armyworm infestations than less intensely fertilized to 1 1/2 inches long. Given their immense appetite, great numbers, and marching ability, fall armyworms can damage entire fields or pastures in a few days. Once the armyworm larva completes feeding, it tunnels into the soil to a depth of about an inch and enters the pupal stage. The armyworm moth emerges from the pupa in about ten days and repeats the life cycle. The fall armyworm moth has a wingspan of about 1 1/2 inches. Moths are active at night when they feed

and managed fields. Look for fall armyworm larvae feeding in the crop canopy during the late evening and early morning and during cool, cloudy weather. During hot days,
look for armyworms low in the canopy or even on the soil surface where they hide under loose soil and fallen leaves. The key to managing fall armyworms is frequent inspection of fields to detect
fall armyworm infestations before they have caused economic damage. Once larvae are greater than ¾ inch long, the quantity of foliage they eat increases dramatically. During their final 2-3 days of feeding, armyworms consume 80% of the total foliage consumed during their entire development. The density of armyworms sufficient to justify insecticide treatment depends on the stage of crop growth and value of the crop. Seedling plants can tolerate fewer armyworms than established plants. Infestations of more than 2-3 armyworms (1/2 inch or longer) per square foot may justify an insecticide application. If practical, apply insecticides early in the morning or late in the evening when armyworm larvae are most active and therefor most likely to come into contact with the insecticide spray. If the field is near harvest, an early harvest, rather than an insecticide treatment, is an option. Insecticides Labeled for Armyworm Control in Pastures and Hayfields include:
“Karate Z, Lambda-Cy, Mustang Max, Tombstone Helios, Warrior II, Baythroid XL, Dimilin 2L, Prevathon, Besiege, Sevin 4F, Sevin XLR, Sevin 80S, Generic Carbaryl, Malathion, Intrepid 2F, and Tracer”. Always read and follow all label instructions on pesticide use and restrictions. Information provided is for educational purposes only. Read current label before
use. For further information, contact Mark Arnold, County Extension Agent- Agriculture/Natural Resources, 701 South I-35 E, Waxahachie, or call 972/825- 5175 or email:

Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service: Soil, Water and Forage Testing Laboratory

The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension ServiceSoil, Water and Forage Testing Laboratory is housed in the Department of Soil and Crop Sciences at Texas A&M University. The laboratory’s primary mission is to provide research based analysis and non-bias recommendations for agronomic and non-agronomic soil analysis, plant tissue analysis, forage nutritive analysis, and non-drinking water analysis. The laboratory also aids the research and extension communities with analysis needs. We also work closely with a number of Texas A&M University service laboratories, other state agency laboratories, and private laboratories with method development, troubleshooting and quality assurance/quality control issues, as well as, forwarding clientele to insure their needs are met.

Click on the links below to print the required form when submitting a soil, water and/or forage sample to Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service testing laboratory. The Ellis County AgriLife Extension office supplies complimentary soil sample bags. Feel free to stop by during business hours to obtain the bags.

Soil Submittal Form

Water Submittal Form

Plant/Forage Submittal Form

For more information, please visit the Soil, Water and Forage Testing website:

Texas Row Crops Newsletter – Current News

The Texas Crops Newsletter is developed by Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. The objective of this newsletter is to provide timely and multi-discipline crop management information to Texas’ producers, consultants, and allied industry. The information provided within each issue is provided by crop scientists, soil scientists, pathologists, and entomologists and will be based on the relevant research from across Texas and the nation. Each issue will contain multiple articles from crops across the state, including the cotton, corn, sorghum, wheat, and other row crops. As appropriate, regional management articles will also be included.

For specific questions or comments, please contact Dr. Gaylon Morgan @ 979-845-2425 or

Aggie Horticulture

Aggie Horticulture began serving gardening and horticultural crop production information in October, 1994. Our factsheets, guides and databases are based on years of testing and practice. More than 50 teachers, scientists, and Extension specialists contribute their work to this website. Our goal is to serve the students, producers, professionals and gardeners of Texas…and the World.

Aggie Horticulture and the other servers of the Aggie Horticulture Network are information providers of the Texas A&M University System Horticulture program, including the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Texas A&M UniversityTexas A&M AgriLife Research, and the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, referred to collectively as Texas A&M AgriLife.

Protecting the State’s Natural Resources

There are challenges affecting our State’s natural resources and impacting the environment. To learn how Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service has responded to these challenges and ways we can help manage natural resources within our communities and private properties, Click Here.

Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service offers online courses for professionals seeking to fulfill state-mandated requirements or for citizens interested in learning more about our state’s environment and natural resources. Explore the available courses for both adults and youths (Click Here)!

Volunteer programs such as the Texas Master Naturalist™ program can be an intricate part of a community’s response to improve, maintain, and educate the importance of preserving our natural resources. To plant seeds of environmental awareness in kids and adults within our community becomes the necessary steps in successfully demonstrating good conservation practices. To learn more about Texas Master Naturalist™ in Ellis (and Navarro) County (Indian Trail Master Naturalists), Click Here. Or to send an email with your inquiries to an Indian Trail Master Naturalist, Click Here.





 Insects in the City!

Whether it’s termites or fire ants, white grubs or aphids…if it’s an insect pest, we’ll try to provide you with the best in science-based, pest management solutions. Click Here to learn more about insects in the city.








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