Division of Agriculture - logo Rosen Alternative Pest Control Center

Origins of the Center

For over 100 years the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station has provided growers with safe, effective, biologically sound and economical pest control measures for the ever-changing spectrum of agricultural pests. It is internationally recognized for breeding and genetics research in field crops, fruits and vegetables and for research on biological control of pests. Timely advancements in biological research techniques and emphases on sustainable agriculture and environmental protection have spurred the development of alternatives to pesticide use.

Research on biologically based pest management strategies is consistent with past research efforts of the Station. Beginning in the 1920s, Dwight Isley, V.H. Young, H.R. Rosen and other University of Arkansas scientists pioneered the concepts of integrated insect management and plant disease control. Their work on integrated host plant resistance, seed quality, crop rotation, cultivation and chemical or biological applications based on pest scouting were hallmarks of crop production technology in Arkansas. George Templeton was a leader in establishing the study and development of mycoherbicides as a new research discipline in the 1980s. Since then, the Station has been actively engaged in research on alternative control strategies using microorganisms and insects as well as recombinant DNA technology for enhanced host resistance. The Rosen Center has improved the ability of Station scientists to do this work by enabling the safe evaluation of microorganisms, insects, and transgenic plant material.

In addition to alternative control strategies, the development of crop management systems to minimize pesticide uselab equipment in a cost-effective manner has always been a major focus of Arkansas agricultural research. The integration of diverse crop management practices and judicious use of pesticides, only when judged necessary through pest monitoring, remain central features of crop production in Arkansas.

Breeding of plants with disease, nematode and insect resistance using both classical and biotechnological methods is a multidisciplinary effort on most major crops in Arkansas. Genetic resistance of plants represents a cost-effective method of controlling pests in production systems and reducing the time and energy costs involved with other pest control measures. Today, the application of molecular techniques offers exciting opportunities to understand the genetic basis of natural plant defense mechanisms and develop their use in agriculture.