Evaluation of Two-Leaf Sampling Units to Estimate Sugarcane Aphid (Hemiptera: Aphididae) Economic Thresholds in Commercial Grain Sorghum.


Lindenmayer JC(1), Payton M(2), Giles KL(3), Elliott NC(4), Knutson AE(5), Bowling R(6), Seiter NJ(7), McCornack B(8), Brown SA(9), Royer TA(3).
Author information:
(1)Trécé Incorporated, Adair, OK.
(2)Department of Biomedical Sciences, Rocky Vista University, Parker, CO.
(3)Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK.
(4)USDA-ARS Wheat, Peanut and Other Field Crops Research Unit, Stillwater, OK.
(5)Department of Entomology, Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center, Dallas, TX.
(6)Channel® Agronomy, Amarillo, TX.
(7)Department of Crop Sciences, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, IL.
(8)Department of Entomology, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS.
(9)Department of Entomology, Louisiana State University, Alexandria, LA.


Sugarcane aphid Melanaphis sacchari Zehntner is a significant economic pest of grain sorghum in the United States. Effective monitoring and early detection are cornerstones for managing invasive pests. The recently developed binomial sequential sampling plan estimates sugarcane aphid economic thresholds (ETs) based on classification whether a 2-leaf sample unit has ≤ or ≥ 50 M. sacchari. In this study, we evaluated eight 2-leaf sampling units for potential use in the sequential sampling plan. From 2016 through 2017, whole plant counts of M. sacchari were recorded non-destructively in situ on sorghum plants from 140 fields located in five states. Plant canopies were stratified into three categories. Two leaves from each stratum were used to compare linear relationships between M. sacchari numbers per two-leaf sample unit and total M. sacchari density per plant. Analysis revealed that two randomly selected leaves from the middle stratum accounted more variation for estimating M. sacchari density when compared to two leaves from the other strata. Comparison of eight two-leaf sampling units within plant growth stages were variable in quantifying variation of M. sacchari densities. When growth stages were combined, the standard uppermost + lowermost leaf sample unit and a unit consisting of two randomly selected leaves from the middle stratum revealed little difference in their enumeration of variation in M. sacchari density. Because other sample units were either less predictive and/or more variable in estimating M. sacchari density, we suggest that the (L1+U1) sample unit remain the preferred method for appraising M. sacchari ETs.