Mid-South entomologists on a five-state team have earned the “Friends of IPM ‘Pulling Together’” award from the Southern Region Integrated Pest Management Center.

The Mid-South Entomologists team was nominated by Robert Wiedenmann, entomology department head at the University of Arkansas.

“I nominated this group of entomologists because they are, in my estimation, the best group around at approaching regional pest management issues, and developing solutions that are applicable across state lines to growers throughout the Mid-South region,” he said.

“I am continually amazed by the collaboration and continued progress that this group has demonstrated.”

The team came together about five years ago, according to Gus Lorenz, associate department head and Extension entomologist for the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture.

“We started talking and decided that we could better answer client questions and solve problems if we started working together, rather than doing our own thing,” he said. “We all pretty much have the same issues. Problems for us in Arkansas are the same in Mississippi, and the Bootheel of Missouri and Tennessee and Louisiana.”

The result of this teamwork has been more data, more publications and more information reaching the people who need it most.

“We communicate weekly and sometimes daily, to talk about what we’re seeing out there and how they’re handling the issue and how we’re handling the issue,” Lorenz said “We share real-time data and it helps us handle those calls from consultants and growers.”

The team is comprised of:

• University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture — Drs. Gus Lorenz, Glenn Studebaker and Scott Akin.

• LSU — Dr. Roger Leonard, professor, field crops pest management.

• Mississippi State — Dr. Angus Catchot, associate extension professor; Dr. Fred Musser, assistant professor; Dr. Jeff Gore, assistant research professor; Dr. Donald Cook, assistant Extension professor.

• University of Missouri — Dr. Kelly Tindall, research assistant professor.

• University of Tennessee — Dr. Scott Stewart, professor/IPM specialist and coordinator.

• USDA-Agricultural Research Service — Dr. Ryan Jackson and Dr. Gordon Snodgrass, both research entomologists.

As an example of the team’s success, Wiedenmann pointed to the work done in dealing with the rise of the tarnished plant bug as a pest in cotton.

“As a result of the collaborative efforts by the Mid-South Entomologists’ team, consistent sampling methods and interpretations have resulted in better recommendations and that has led to reductions in insecticides,” he said.

The reductions mean savings for farmers, who saw their costs to control the tarnished plant bug rise from about $7 an acre in 1997 to $26 an acre in 2007.

For more information about integrated pest management, visit www.uaex.edu, www.aragriculture.org/SRIPMC/default.htm or contact your county Extension office.

The Southern Region IPM Center is supported by a grant from USDA/NIFA and includes 13 states and two territories. For more information about the Southern Region IPM Center, visit www.sripmc.org.