by Geraldine Marroquin

University of West Georgia’s Dr. Greg Payne, professor of biology and interim associate dean, has received a $20,000 grant from the Georgia Cotton Commission to continue monitoring and researching the insecticide susceptibilities in tobacco budworm and bollworm populations in Georgia.

Dr. Gregory Payne smiles for a studio portrait of him in a green polo shirt“Research that is devoted to the preservation of these insecticides and the development of new replacement compounds and technologies is critical,” Dr. Payne said. “Programs, such as this, to routinely monitor the effectiveness of these insecticides are a piece of the puzzle used by the agriculture industry to help develop, implement, and maintain effective integrated pest management strategies.”

The pest insects of cotton and corn studied in his research are two of the more economically important pests of a wide variety of field crops in the southeastern United States. The data Dr. Payne has been able to gather throughout his 30-year career provides a baseline for comparison and the identification of potential trends and changes in susceptibility.

“Although occasional populations of these insects have exhibited some level of resistance to the insecticides tested, most of the insecticides evaluated have remained relatively effective and are still being used in the field by the industry,” he said.

Dr. Payne conducts his research in his lab at UWG. He raises the collected insects to an appropriate stage, exposes them to varying concentrations of an insecticide solution, and then monitors and records any affects of the insecticide on growth, development, and mortality.

“One of my ultimate goals is to provide relevant data to constituents that will allow them to make informed decisions concerning agricultural practices and the use of these insecticides to control these pests,” he said, “and to continue building and sustaining a career that has allowed me to have fun doing something that I love to do.”

The Georgia Cotton Commission has awarded Dr. Payne this grant the past eight years. He has collectively been awarded more than $180,000 for his research. This grant also supports two to three UWG undergraduate research assistants per year, which includes travel to research conferences.

“UWG started out as an agricultural and mechanical school, and historically, this area was heavily invested in cotton production, so it’s kind of cool to be involved with research that is linked to the original UWG mission and vision,” Dr. Payne noted.

Posted on July 7, 2016