Weed, Brush Online Decision Tool Available

November 29, 2009 06:00 PM

By Blair Fannin,Texas AgriLife Extension

Pestman, a new online application for weed and brush control, is now publicly available, according to a Texas AgriLife Research scientist.

"Pestman is a decision-support system that provides sound pest management options associated with weed and brush control, as well as costs associated with the options considered,” said Wayne Hamilton, AgriLife Research range scientist and lead researcher with the Center for Natural Resource Information Technology. "This tool allows managers to analyze the economic and environmental risks associated with controlling pests invading forage lands.”

The application is a collaborative effort of federal and state agencies, including U.S. Department of Agriculture-Risk Management Agency, New Mexico State University, AgriLife Research, Texas AgriLife Extension Service, the Texas A&M System, and private industry, including Grazingland Management Systems Inc., and AgForce consulting companies.

The new Pestman application was built with some previously existing tools for making range decisions, Hamilton said.

"The old program used was known as EXSEL, which was created more than 20 years ago,” Hamilton said. "It was still being used, but the problem was it got out of date as companies began to market the same (chemical) compounds under their (herbicide trade) name. It was never built in a database system where that information or costs for mechanical and chemical treatments could be updated easily.”

Another feature not available in EXSEL was the ability to calculate economic outcomes when creating a scenario using mechanical or chemical brush or weed treatment alternatives, Hamilton said.

The Pestman decision support system was approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Risk Management Agency earlier this fall and is available online for producers, range consultants and others in the brush and weed control industry. It can be found at http://pestman.tamu.edu.

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