Grasshopper Management To Be Discussed At MonDak Ag Days
March 3, 2021 | View PDF
For over 20 years, Branson has been a research entomologist at the USDA-Agricultural Research Service, Sidney. Here he is a part of Pest Management Unit; he studies the biology and ecology of grasshoppers to find ways to manage outbreaks without chemical pesticides. Scientists that are a part of this unit are also researching the benefits grasshoppers can provide.
Prior to working at USDA-ARS, Branson conducted his dissertation research at Utah State University on grasshopper ecology.
Branson’s current research revolves around grasshoppers. According to http://www.ars.usda.gov, “Grasshoppers are an important native component of biodiversity in grassland ecosystems. However, periodic grasshopper outbreaks cause significant economic impact to the grazing industry, with grasshoppers consuming an estimated $1.25 billion per year in forage in Western U.S. rangelands.”
Despite grasshoppers’ economic and ecological importance, little is known about the ecological processes that generate outbreaks.
Pesticides have been used as the primary tool to combat grasshopper outbreaks, but there are high costs associated with this so Branson and other research scientists at the USDA-ARS are researching ecologically based sustainable grasshopper management tactics.
Branson has found habitat management techniques to be the most effective methods of managing grasshoppers. Rangeland burning or livestock grazing on rangeland help to alter the quality of habitat available for grasshoppers and/or their predators, while satisfying the needs of the grazing industry.
For more information on Branson’s research pertaining to grasshoppers, be sure to attend MonDak Ag Days. More information on this event can be found on the MonDak Ag Days Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/mondakagdays.