Texas AgriLIFE Extension Service Texas AgriLIFE Research
Dr. Castro’s research focuses on the development and application of tools for the integrated management of arthropod pests of diverse commodities including horticultural, fruit, agronomic and ornamental crops. Dr. Castro’s research interests focus on insect population ecology and management under new production practices, such as minimum tillage and organic agriculture. With the increased need for value-added agriculture and improved plants, Dr. Castro’s research includes insect population and behavioral studies on improved plants engineered for increased yield, nutritional value and bio-fuel potential.
Mexican rice borer management:
This project is focused on the behavior and preference of the Mexican rice borer for drought-stressed sugarcane and tolerance/resistance of improved sugarcane varieties. Future plans include the management of this most serious pest of sugarcane using modified cultural practices, improved conventional and transgenic plant varieties and organic sprays.
Integrated Management of Vegetable, Agronomic and Ornamental Arthropod Pests: Agricultural production in South Texas is exposed to economic insect pest pressure during most production seasons. Insect populations grow in spring vegetables and later infest summer crops such as cotton and urban landscapes before moving back to vegetables in the fall season. Current projects study the management of important pests such as thrips, whiteflies and aphids on these multi-crop scenarios. Future plans include studies on population ecology and resistance development of these important pests and their effect on commercial planting and newly developed improved plants.