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Abstract

The sugarcane aphid (SCA) has become the most important pest in sorghum since its detection in 2013. Due to its rapid population growth, great dispersion capacity, and reduced availability of effective insecticides this aphid is capable of causing substantial damage to sorghum production. Little work has been conducted to assess and better understand the economic impact caused by the SCA infestation. The objective of this study was to quantify the economic impact of SCA on sorghum growers in the Lower Rio Grande Valley (LRGV), Texas, where 11.5% of the state production is located. Forty-one local producers were surveyed resulting in a representative sample of 46,578 acres in 2014 and 49,761 acres in 2015. The questionnaire gathers detailed information about yearly crop yields, crop acreage, insecticide application decisions, and management and production practices. Collected data were used to estimate the change in profit associated to the SCA outbreak. Empirical results indicate that the SCA reduced profit by $64.29/acre in 2014 and by $36.17/acre in 2015. At the regional level, the SCA has caused a total economic loss to farmers in the LRGV of about $31.60M.

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