The Roundup -

Dr. Rand To Speak At MonDak Ag Days


Thursday, March 4, at 12:30 p.m. MST, Dr. Tatyana Rand will be discussing alfalfa weevil and wheat stem sawfly identification, research and management.

Dr. Rand is a research ecologist, in Pest Management Research Unit, at USDA-ARS Northern Plains Agricultural Research Lab, Sidney. She received a PhD in biology from Brown University, Providence, RI, and joined ARS in 2009, following postdoctoral positions at University of Goettingen, Germany, and the University of Canterbury, New Zealand. She said, “My postdoctoral work focused on understanding the impacts of global changes on insect communities in both natural and agricultural systems. My work at USDA-ARS has focused on developing sustainable approaches for managing dominant insect crop pests in the Northern Plains.”

Rand hopes that attendees will gain a deeper understanding of the basic biology, and management options, for each of the pests she will discuss, the wheat stem sawfly in wheat, and alfalfa weevil in alfalfa. “These are two of the most economically damaging crop pests in the MonDak region. The talks will inform participants of current research being done on these pests, both at USDA and in collaboration with our university collaborators at University of Wyoming, and Montana and Colorado State Universities,” stated Rand. 

Proper identification of pests and their damage is critical for effective pest management. Rand explained that it allows for early detection and identification of the problem so that appropriate management actions can be taken to safeguard against yield losses. She added, “Correctly diagnosing the problem is obviously critical to determining the appropriate management response. Misidentification of insect pests, or lack of knowledge on how to determine economic thresholds, can lead to the unnecessary use of insecticides, which, in addition to being costly, can harm beneficial insects such as bees and biological control agents. So, it is really important to know how to scout for, and identify, the key pests of your crops.”

Rand said that it is always satisfying to have the opportunity to share the work that she does, as scientific researchers, with stakeholders. She said, “Venues such as the MonDak Ag Days are a great way to connect, providing the opportunity for researchers to update growers on recent developments in sustainable management of the pests that matter to them, and gain a regional perspective on the severity of the problem through time and space.”


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