I respond to the needs of Texas growers with research and educational efforts aimed at solving their plant disease problems. I work on diseases of field crops, with emphasis on major diseases of cotton, corn, and sorghum in Texas. I also work on diseases of some vegetables, with emphasis on watermelons. With cotton, I am evaluating fungicides for control of Phymatotrichopsis root rot, in collaboration with agronomists, IPM agents and county agents throughout the state. For corn, I've emphasized aflatoxin control, through collaborative projects on host resistance with the corn breeder, Dr. Seth Murray and plant pathologist, Dr. Mike Kolomiets. I also do field studies on the use of atoxigenic strains for biological control of aflatoxin. My sorghum emphasis is management of metalaxyl-resistant sorghum downy mildew strains. I also collaborate with USDA-ARS plant pathologist, Dr. Louis Prom, on sorghum anthracnose and grain mold research.
While it is essential to respond to disease problems as they arise, I strive to anticipate how changes in agriculture in the future will affect plant diseases and approaches for their control. Information resulting from all these efforts is useless unless it is communicated to the clientele that need it- primarily farmers, which is the key component of my job. The ultimate purpose of my activities is to help maintain the viability of agriculture in Texas.