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The University of Nebraska at Kearney was recently awarded a $14,900 grant by the Nebraska Potato Development Committee to research insects affecting potato crops in the state. The project will be conducted by Dr. Wyatt Hoback, assistant professor of Biology.
The project, entitled “Potato Research to Improve Regional Integrated Pest Management of Insects,” seeks to determine basic information about the damage from potato insects neccessary to make Integrated Pest Management (IPM) decisions. Damage from insect infestation is a national problem which is increasing due to resistance to insecticides.
“Potatoes are becoming a significant part of Nebraska agriculture, and with that comes a need for research on how to best manage the crops,” said Dr. Hoback. “This project will build knowledge on an important aspect of potato cultivation, which is control of pests.” The regional data collected by Hoback will help potato farmers in Nebraska with immediate and long-term solutions for insect infestations. By determining the appropriate thresholds for treatment of potential pests and implementing IPM practices, farmers will save money on pesticide applications and reductions in pesticide application will preserve the environment and reduce insect resistance to these products.
The grant includes funding for graduate and undergraduate students to work on the project, offering an opportunity for first-hand research experience to enrich their education. The research began July 2002, and will end in June 2003.