Ecological-Based Management of Sorghum and Pearl Millet Insect Pests in Africa and the United States


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Principal Investigator(s):
Bonnie B. Pendleton

Co-Principal Investigator(s):


Sorghum, Sorghum bicolor, and pearl millet, Pennisetum glaucum, are uniquely suited for production with limited inputs of water, fertilizer, and pesticides in Africa and the U.S. Such abiotic and biotic stresses as drought and insect, disease, and weed pests limit production. Major insect pests of pearl millet and sorghum include millet head miner, sorghum midge, aphids, panicle-infesting bugs, stalk borers, and storage coleopterans that destroy yield and quality of sorghum and pearl millet for domestic use and marketing. Research objectives are to monitor and detect potential arthropod pests, understand life histories of insect pests including natural controls, determine agronomic practices to prevent damage by insect and disease pests in the field, and develop cultivars with greater yield and multiple resistances to biotic and abiotic stresses in the field and storage in Africa and the US. This project involves collaboration of a multi-disciplinary, multi-agency team of entomologists, plant breeders, pathologists, agricultural economists, extension educators, and others working for public research or educational agencies or for private industry or volunteer organizations in the U.S., Mali, Niger, Mozambique, Botswana, and South Africa. Students will be educated in entomology, integrated pest management, and the cropping systems approach. Development of host-country institutional research and educational capacities will enable better, site-specific management of insect pests. Development, dissemination, and implementation of sustainable, environmentally sound pest management technologies locally adapted for farmers and others will annually prevent millions of dollars in damage and loss in the field and storage, reduce pesticide use, conserve natural resources of soil and water without contamination by pesticides, and increase production of nutritious food and feed for domestic use and income from marketing to enable sustainable agricultural development.


1. Collaborate with scientists at the Institute D'Economie Rurale in Mali, Institute National de la Recherche Agronomique du Niger, Instituto de Investigacao Agraria de Mozambique, Botswana College of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Council Grain Crops Institute in South Africa, West Texas A&M University, Texas AgriLife Research centers, Texas A&M University, private industries, volunteer organizations, and other agencies to develop and deliver better integrated management against insect pests that damage quantity and quality of sorghum and pearl millet in the field and storage by improved: · Understanding of the biology, ecology, and population dynamics of insect pests and the damage they cause · Agronomic practices such as tillage, rotation, and intercropping to prevent damage by insect pests and reduce use of pesticides and their residues · Cultivars with greater yield potential and multiple resistance to biotic and abiotic stresses in the field and storage 2. Provide education for students from Africa and the US and short-term training/study opportunities for African scientists in entomology and IPM. 3. Develop and maintain partnerships with ICRISAT and private volunteer organizations engaged in improvement of sorghum and millet production and betterment of people, and by presentations and publications, assist extension and other agencies with transferring pest management information to farmers, consultants, scientists, and others in Africa and the U.S.


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