USDA has announced funding for research and training efforts through eight new projects through the Southern Regional Integrated Pest Management grants program.

The USDA Southern Regional IPM grant program funds multi-state, collaborative projects addressing high-priority pest management issues. This year the program funded eight of 25 proposals for a total of $796,355. The Southern Region IPM Center at North Carolina State University manages the annual competition.

Included in the projects funded are:

LSU AgCenter researchers Fangneng Huang and B. Rogers Leonard will team up with researchers from Texas A&M University and Mississippi State University to validate and improve the strategy for managing corn borer resistance to Bt-corn. They will study the survival rate of borer larvae on Bt-corn and examine the genetic makeup of resistant borers. Their project will improve long-term management of corn borers.

Clemson University researcher Guido Schnabel will develop a monitoring program for fungicide-resistant peach brown rot. One of the most serious problems for peach growers in Georgia and South Carolina, peach brown rot has developed resistance to the three fungicides typically used for control. However, different strains of the disease retain susceptibility to at least one of the fungicides.

Schnabel’s project will enable Extension specialists and agents to use a special kit developed last year to identify orchards with fungicide-resistant strains of the disease. The kit will distinguish which of the three fungicides will be effective in a particular orchard.

• Four researchers at the University of Kentucky will evaluate weed-control methods for noxious weeds such as ironweed, musk thistle, spiny amaranth and other weeds unpalatable to livestock. Weed expert Jonathan Green and his team will test the effectiveness of mowing, herbicides and fertility manipulations to control these weeds.