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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

News from NPARL

November  |  January  |  February  |  March  |  April

Click here for published ARS news articles on NPARL Research.

2014 - April

ARS Entomologist to participate in International Wheat Stem Sawfly Conference
ARS Research Entomologist Tatyana Rand was invited to speak at the Sixth International Wheat Stem Sawfly Conference set for April 3-4 at Montana State University (MSU) in Bozeman, MT. Free to the public, the conference will be held in the Procrastinator Theatre in MSU's Strand Union Building. Dr. Rand’s presentation, set for Thursday, April 3, at 10:30 am, is entitled “Stem solidity reduces parasitism of wheat stem sawfly larvae in resistant wheat lines.” Other authors on the talk include Deb Waters, also with USDA-ARS Northern Plains Agricultural Research Laboratory (NPARL) in Sidney, MT; Dr. Tom Shanower, USDA-ARS Center for Grain and Animal Health Research, Manhattan, KS, and Dr. W.A. Berzonsky, North American Wheat Breeding, Bayer CropScience LP. The conference covered a broad range of topics related to the wheat steam sawfly, a major pest of wheat production in the Northern Great Plains. Research conducted at NPARL and other ARS facilities, at MSU, in France, in Canada, and in other wheat producing states in the US will address both fundamental and applied questions. The Dean and Director of Montana State University’s College of Agriculture/Montana Ag Experiment Station and the Heads of the Land Resources and Environmental Sciences and of the Plant Sciences and Plant Pathology Departments are sponsoring the Conference. Rand and Waters are members of NPARL’s Pest Management Unit.
Tatyana Rand, 406.433.9439,
Debra Waters, 406.433.9491,

2014 - March

Insect diagnostician to discuss spiders as biocontrol agents at ARS lab, schools. 
Dr. Lauren Kerzicnik, the Insect Diagnostician and Assistant IPM Specialist in the Plant Sciences and Plant Pathology Department at Montana State University in Bozeman, spoke at the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Laboratory in Sidney, MT on Friday, March 21, as part of the ARS lab’s annual 2014 Winter BrownBagger speaker series. Dr. Kerzicnik’s talk focused on spiders as biological control agents. The Sidney lab’s Pest Management Research Unit does biocontrol research in the management of weeds and insect pests, which prompted the speaking invitation. Dr. Kerzicnik has a Master’s and PhD in Entomology from Colorado State University and has worked with spiders and biological control for over 15 years. Her background is with integrated pest management and spiders as pest control agents in agroecosystems. In addition to her talk at the Sidney lab, she will also be giving two presentations at area schools arranged by lab personnel. She will be discussing “Spiders as beneficial predators” with members of the Sidney High School advanced biology class that morning, followed by a session with the 4th through 6th grade classes at Rau Elementary School. She will also have live spiders and other insects on display for both groups. Her presentation at the Sidney ARS lab begins at noon.
Beth Redlin, 406-433-9427,  

ARS lab to participate in area Ag Expo.
Representatives of  USDA-ARS Northern Plains Agricultural Research Laboratory in Sidney, MT will participate in the annual KATQ 31st annual N.E. Montana Farm Expo in Plentywood, MT on March 14-15. The Sidney, MT ARS lab will have a booth featuring  ongoing research at the lab including cover crop studies in its Agricultural Systems Research Unit and wide-ranging weed and insect pest management studies in its Pest Management Research Unit. The Sidney, MT, ARS lab also participated in three other agricultural shows in the region including MonDak Ag Days in Sidney, MT Jan 9-10, the National Hard Red Spring Wheat Show in Williston, ND Feb. 4-5 and the Glendive Agricultural Trade Exposition in Glendive, MT, Feb. 7-8. NPARL researchers and support staff were also available to answer questions and explain the research at the events.
Beth Redlin, 406-433-9427, 
ARS lab to participate in Ag and Science career expo at Montana tribal college. 
ARS Technician Kimberly Mann represented the USDA-ARS Northern Plains Agricultural Research Laboratory in Sidney, MT at the 3rd Annual Ag & Science Expo for high school students held on the campus of the Little Big Horn College on Tuesday March 11, from 10 am to 2pm in Crow Agency, MT.  According to organizers, the goal for the event is to get students excited about science and the career opportunities available through hands on demonstrations and activities, informational booths and presentations by representatives from 20 different agencies, including the Agricultural Research Service, the Forest Service, the Natural Resources and Conservation Service and more. At the Sidney, MT ARS lab booth, Mann will assist students in doing an actual DNA extraction with strawberries and use the hands-on demonstration to discuss research at the Sidney ARS facility using similar molecular techniques to identify invasive weed origins and possible hybridizations in order to determine the best locations worldwide for collecting insects and other natural enemies to be used in biological control of the weed in the United States. Mann and other presenters will also discuss various internships, job opportunities, and career paths, their agencies have to offer. Six regional high schools totaling close to 100 students have been invited to participate. Mann also participated in this event last year.

Kim Mann, 406-433-9428, 
ARS soil scientist to participate in Soil Science Society Conference.
ARS Soil Scientist Upendra Sainju will attend the Soil Science Society of America’s (SSSA) “Soil’s Role in Restoring Ecosystems Services” Conference to be held March 6-9, 2014, in Sacramento, CA. The SSSA is sponsoring the single-topic conference along with the following co-sponsors: the Ecological Society of America, U.S. Geological Survey, and the American Geophysical Union. Dr. Sainju’s oral presentation is entitled, “Improved management practice to enhance dryland crop yields and environmental quality” and is scheduled for Friday, March 7, at 10:35 a.m. Dr. Sainju is a member of NPARL’s Agricultural Systems Research Unit. The conference is designed to advance the soil science discipline and evaluate knowledge strengths and gaps, encourage cross-disciplinary synergies to accelerate new learning, and prioritize research needs. Attendees include professional and research scientists, consultants, natural resource managers, post-doctoral researchers, and graduate students.

Upendra Sainju, 406-433-9408, 

ARS scientist to speak at Great Plains Soil Fertility Conference.
ARS Agronomist Dr. Brett Allen will attend the Great Plains Soil Fertility Conference to be held March 4-5, 2014, in Denver, Colorado. The Conference is sponsored by the International Plant Nutrition Institute which is a global organization that addresses the world’s growing need for food, fuel, fiber, and feed. Dr. Allen will present a poster titled, “N use Efficiency in Stacked vs. Alternate Year Rotations under Conventional or Ecological Management”. Fellow authors along with Dr. Allen are Andrew Lenssen (Iowa State University), Upendra Sainju, TheCan Caesar, Robert Lartey, and Robert Evans (retired), all of whom are members of NPARL’s Agricultural Systems Research Unit.

Brett Allen, 406-433-9402, 
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2014 - February

ARS plant ecologist attends Tamarisk Coalition meeting.
ARS Plant Ecologist Erin Espeland was invited to present at the Tamarisk Coalition meeting held Feb. 18-20 in Grand Junction, CO. In partnership with The Water Center at Colorado Mesa University and Colorado State University Extension, the Tamarisk Coalition hosted two days of interactive sessions, presentations, and panels highlighting recent advancements and emerging issues in riparian invasive plant management and restoration. Dr. Espeland’s presentation was entitled “Soils and vegetation change after Russian olive removal in Montana.” Espeland is a member of the Sidney, MT ARS lab’s Pest Management Research Unit.

Erin Espeland, 406.433.9416, 

ARS scientists to speak at Northern Rockies Invasive Plant Council.

NPARL research scientists Drs. John Gaskin and Erin Espeland are invited to participate in the 3rd Northern Rockies Invasive Plant Council (NRIPC) meeting in Spokane, WA, February 10-13. NRIPC Conference focuses on integrated management and restoration that provides four days of a dynamic and highly participatory interface between research and management of invasive species. In conjunction with the Conference is a USDA NIFA funded 1½ day Symposium on Russian Olive management and also a ½ day Western Regional Integrated Pest Management funded Symposium on Flowering Rush. Dr. Gaskin, ARS biologist, will give a presentation on "Ecology and Plant Genetics" and Dr. Espeland, ARS ecologist, will present two talks titled, "Management of Russian Olive" and the "Competition and facilitation among plants in restoration of disturbed lands".

Both attending scientists are sponsored by the University of Idaho to aid in covering some travel costs.

Drs. Gaskin (Research Leader) and Espeland are both members of NPARL’s Pest Management Research Unit.
John Gaskin, 406.433.9444,
Erin Espeland, 406.433.9416, 
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2014 - January

ARS scientist to speak at Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology annual meeting.

NPARL Insect Ecologist Robert Srygley will participate in the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology (SICB) 2014 annual meeting in Austin, TX, Jan. 3-7. The SICB promotes the discovery and dissemination of new knowledge and concepts in integrative and comparative biology, and it adopts and supports policies advancing innovative studies of organisms. The SCIB annual meeting is held in conjunction with the Animal Behavior Society, the American Microscopical Society, and the Crustacean Society. For his contribution, Dr. Srygley will present a symposium talk entitled, "Nutrient intake of nymphal and adult Mormon crickets and its effects on immunity," on Monday, Jan. 6, at 8:15 am as part of the meeting’s Session on "The micro and macro of nutrient effects in animal physiology and ecology". Sessions are open to registered participants. Dr. Srygley is a member of NPARL’s Pest Management Research Unit.
Bob Srygley, 406.433.9420,
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2013 - November

ARS scientists attend Entomological Society of America annual meeting.

ARS research scientists Drs. John Gaskin (Research Leader), David Branson, Stefan Jaronski, and Tatyana Rand will all participate in the Entomological Society of America 2013 annual meeting "Science Impacting a Connected World" Austin, TX, November 9-14. This meeting joins 3,000 professionals and students from around the globe for science networking. Contributions from scientists at the Sidney, MT ARS lab included the following presentations:

NPARL’s Research Leader and Botanist Dr. Gaskin will present a talk titled "Importance of taxonomic support for classical biocontrol programs and the contributions of molecular genetics" on November 12 at 1:50 pm.

  • NPARL entomologist Dr. Jaronski was invited to present a symposium talk "Mass production of entomopathogenic fungi: challenges to the ‘mycodream’" November 12, 2013: 4:35 pm. Dr. Jaronski will also present two posters. The first titled "Persistence studies of a Metarhizium acridum under U.S. Northern Plains Conditions" and the second poster will be co-presented with APHIS collaborator Larry Jech titled, "Field evaluation of candidate Metarhizium fungi for grasshopper control on the U.S. Northern Plains". Both are scheduled for November 12. Dr. Jaronski also organized and will moderate a symposium "Integrating the Macros (Macrobial Biocontrols) and the Micros (Microbial Biocontrols) to Manage Insect Pests on the evening of November 12.
  • NPARL entomologist Dr. Rand will make an oral presentation titled "Assessing the influence of multiple facets of agricultural landscape simplification on infestation by Cephus cinctus, a major pest of wheat" on November 12 at 9:12 am.
  • NPARL entomologist Dr. Branson will make an oral presentation titled, "Trophic cascades: The impact of spiders on grasshopper herbivory in a northern mixed prairie" on November 12 at 4:30 pm.
  • Drs. John Gaskin (Research Leader), David Branson, Stefan Jaronski, and Tatyana Rand are all members of NPARL’s Pest Management Research Unit.

John Gaskin, 406.433.9444,
Dave Branson, 406.433.9406,
Stefan Jaronski, 406.433.9486,
Tatyana Rand, 406.433.9439,

ARS scientists attend joint meeting of science societies.

ARS Research scientists, Drs. Brett Allen, Jay Jabro, Upendra Sainju, and Bart Stevens will all participate in the 2013 Joint Annual Meeting of five scientific societies November 3-6 in Tampa, FL. This year’s theme "Water, Food, Energy & Innovation for a Sustainable World" features six scientific themed programs including specific topics such as Sensing Innovation, Food-Water-Soil Nexus, Climate Change, Sustainable Agricultural Systems, Improved Nutrient Management, and Energy, Soils, and Crops. The societies represented include: Soil Science Society of America, American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, the Canadian Society of Agronomy and International Society for Terrain-Vehicle Systems. Contributions from scientists at the Sidney, MT ARS lab included the following presentations:

  • NPARL agronomist Brett Allen will present "Nitrogen Use in Two-Year Durum Rotations with Crucifer Oilseeds and Fallow" in SSSA’s Session 137-17, November 4, 3:00-5:00 pm. Dr. Allen was also a co-author on "Comparing Stacked and Alternate-Year Cropping Systems in a Semiarid Environment". ASA’s Session 331-7, November 6, 2:30-4:30 pm.
  • NPARL Soil Scientist Dr. Jabro will make an oral presentation on "Water Use and Water Productivity of Sugarbeet, Malt Barley and Potato Affected by Irrigation Frequency" in SSSA’s Session 301-24, November 5, 4:00-6:00 pm and is also presiding over ASA’s Session No. 350, Sources and Rates of Greenhouse Gas Emissions From Agriculture held on November 6, 7:55 am-12:00 pm. He is also attending the Soil Science Society Association Journal’s editorial board meeting
  • NPARL Soil Scientist Upendra Sainju participate in ASA sessions on November 4 and 6. He will preside over Session 82, held November 4, 7:55-10:00 am. Dr. Sainju will make two oral presentations: "Life-Cycle Assessment of Greenhouse Gases Affected by Irrigation, Tillage, Crop Rotation, and Nitrogen Fertilization" in ASA’s Session 350-4, November 6, 8:45 am; and "Dryland Malt Barley Yield and Quality in Response to Tillage, Cropping Sequence, and Nitrogen Fertilization" in Session No. 331-3. In addition he is co-author on two other presentations titled, "Comparing Stacked and Alternate-Year Cropping Systems in a Semiarid Environment" (Session 331-7, held November 6, 2:30-4:30 pm) and "Greenhouse Gas Fluxes from Perennial Grass Bioenergy Feedstock Production" (Session 327-19, also November 6).
  • NPARL Agronomist Dr. Bart Stevens will make an oral presentation titled "Seed Placement Relative to Fertilizer Band Position in Conventional and Strip Till Sugar Beet" on in SSSA’s Session No. 407-12, November 6, 1:00-3:00 pm.
  • Drs. Brett Allen, Jay Jabro, Upendra Sainju, Bart Stevens are all members of NPARL’s Agricultural Systems Research Unit.

Brett Allen, 406.433.9402,
Jay Jabro, 406.433.9442,
Upendra Sainju, 406.433.9408,
Bart Stevens, 406.433.9476,


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ARS News Articles

Scientists Find Evidence of Casuarina Hybrids
Sep 11, 2009
Scientists Identify North American Genotypes of Rush Skeletonweed
Jul 30, 2009
61st annual USDA Honor and Awards ceremony
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Sep 04, 2008
ARS Researchers Search for Casuarina Biological Control Agents
Sep 02, 2008
Last Modified: 3/19/2014