Grasshopper Workshop Set For March 29 In Sidney

Oh no! Here we go again!

After eastern Montana and western North Dakota farmers and ranchers endured the second largest grasshopper outbreak of the last 35 years in 2021, they're naturally nervous about what may be coming next, particularly given persistent drought in the region.

And it appears everyone is rightfully on edge. Annual grasshopper surveys taken last fall by the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) indicate another bad year for grasshoppers, with more than 20 million acres in the west predicted to exceed the economic threshold for the pests and another 60 million crowding that number. The vast bulk of the most highly impacted acreage is predicted to be centered in Montana and western Oregon.

To help producers in this area better prepare for the potential onslaught, researchers with the USDA's Agricultural Research Service (ARS), Sidney, and Montana State University's Extension Service, Sidney, are hosting a free grasshopper workshop entitled "Oh no! Not again! Grasshopper Outbreaks and Management Options in 2022" set for Tuesday, March 29 at Richland County Extension Office conference room, Sidney. The two-hour workshop is free and runs from 10 a.m.-noon.

The workshop presentations will also be available live online. For more information or to sign up for the online option, contact Beth Redlin with ARS at 406-433-2020 or email [email protected], or Richland County Extension Agent Marley Manoukian at 406-433-1206 or by email at [email protected].

Workshops speakers include Dr. Dave Branson, USDA-ARS Northern Plains Agricultural Research Laboratory Research Entomologist and Acting Pest Management Research Unit Leader, Sidney and Gary Adams, USDA-APHIS Montana's State Plant Health Director, Billings. In addition, Dr. Kevin Wanner, Montana State University Extension Cropland Entomology Specialist, Bozeman, will be featured in a prerecorded segment with tips on managing grasshoppers in cropland systems.

Dr. Branson, who has more than 25 years experience studying grasshoppers in rangeland systems in the northern Great Plains, will discuss the biology and ecology of grasshoppers and how weather impacts them and the potential for large outbreaks. He will also discuss ongoing grasshopper research in ARS, including sustainable rangeland management techniques focusing on the use of livestock grazing and rangeland fire to reduce outbreaks; new predictive tools for outbreaks being developed at ARS, and more.

Gary Adams, who has more than 35 years with APHIS' Plant Protection and Quarantine office, Montana, and who oversees grasshopper control programs in the state, will be discussing grasshopper management options in rangeland; available treatments and their limitations, and existing federal spraying programs and private cost share options.

Dr. Wanner's segment will include information on important pest species in Montana and management options in cropland systems in general, along with management considerations for specific crops, such as winter wheat.

Wrapping up the workshop, will be a question and answer session with Branson and Adams, who in addition to answering other concerns from participants will also offer insights into outbreak predictions for the 2022 growing season.

Two (MT) pesticide points are available for attending this workshop. Attendees participating live online will also be eligible for pesticide points. Categories include:

10: Dealer

230: Agricultural Plant Pest Control

239: Demonstration & Research Pest Control

255: Regulatory Weed

260: Private Agricultural Pest Control


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