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USDA grant allows ASU professor to study insect impact on rice milling quality

Aug. 14, 2007 -- The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has awarded a grant of $612,000 to a team of scientists to conduct a comprehensive study to measure the impact of post-harvest lesser grain borer infestations on rice milling quality.

Team member and co-principal investigator, Dr. Tanja McKay, assistant professor, entomology, Department of Biological Sciences at Arkansas State University-Jonesboro, will coordinate the insect monitoring studies at Riceland's rice mill in Jonesboro. Dr. Lloyd Ted Wilson and Dr. Yubin Yang from Texas A & M University System’s Agricultural Research and Extension Center at Beaumont will coordinate the overall completion of the project. Texas A & M will serve as the lead institution for the project. Other co-principal investigators include Dr. Terry Siebenmorgen and Dr. Jean-Francois Meullenet of the University of Arkansas, Dr. Frank Arthur and Dr. James Campbell of the U. S. Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS), Manhattan, Kansas, Dr. Eugene Reagan of the Louisiana State University Agricultural Center, and Dr. Brian Adam of Oklahoma State University.

The team will determine prevalence and seasonal history of insect infestation in several field sites in the northern and southern portions of the U.S. rice belt and assess insect control through a combination of reduced-risk insecticides and low-volume ambient aeration.

A comprehensive cost-benefit analysis will be conducted to link impacts of infestation with management and control. The analysis will evaluate the practical economic benefit of new insect control measures. Study results will be integrated and delivered through a web-based post-harvest grain management program, which will provide a comprehensive risk analysis for stored rough rice from eastern Texas to southeastern Missouri.

The web-based post-harvest grain management program was developed through a previous USDA-Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES)-Crops at Risk (CAR) grant (


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