Phillip Roberts is a native of Georgia. He earned his B.S. in Agricultural Economics and his Ph.D. in Entomology from the University of Georgia. His graduate research focused on risk assessment of seedling pests in production systems using reduced tillage and winter cover crops. Upon graduation he served as Extension Entomologists at the University of Tennessee for 3ó years prior to accepting his current position as Extension Entomologist in Tifton in 1996.
Current responsibilities include developing and implementing comprehensive extension education programs in integrated pest management (IPM) for cotton and soybean production systems. Additionally, applied research and on-farm demonstrations are conducted to advance the state of the art for IPM systems.
Current Extension and applied research projects include efforts to optimize management of thrips, stink bugs, corn earworm, and silverleaf whiteflies. Specifically, his efforts involve the study of insect pest biology and ecology (understanding risk associated with cultural practices), threshold development and verification, and insecticide and plant trait susceptibility.
Cotton IPM programs in Georgia have become more biologically based due in large part to the elimination of the boll weevil as an economic pest and the widespread adoption of Bt transgenic cottons. Utilization of natural processes to their fullest extent through conservation of natural controls is the foundation of cotton IPM programs in Georgia.
Roberts feels that we are fortunate in Georgia that insecticide needs are less than some other cotton producing states. However, the insect pest management decisions we make are not necessarily easier. IPM will always be management intensive and the more knowledge we possess about an insect the better decisions we will make. Roberts has three daughters and enjoys the outdoors in his spare time.