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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Issue: January/February 2007
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Northern PlainFacts.

Issue: January/February 2007


The Northern PlainFacts electronic newsletter offers brief updates on research, personnel, and events from both the Agricultural Systems Research Unit and Pest Management Research Unit at NPARL, and includes contact names and information for those interested in further details. 
 

In This Month's Issue:

       

ARS participates in irrigation workshop

Rural elementary students tour Montana ARS Laboratory

Native American Internship opportunities presented by ARS labs

ARS scientist named to APHIS group evaluating organism permit regs

Brown Bagger Series kicks off with talk on China

ARS reps help judge rural science fair

ARS Grasshopper, Carbon Sequestration research featured at area Ag Shows

ARS Botanist to Speak at WSSA Meeting

ARS Soil Scientist to participate in 4th USDA Greenhouse Gas Conference

ARS scientist to participate in national range meeting

ARS researchers participate in National Grasshopper Board meeting

ARS irrigation specialist speaks at AAAS annual meeting

ARS botanist invited to speak at summit, university

ARS irrigation research featured in sugarbeet publication
 
 
 
 

ARS irrigation research featured in sugarbeet publication.

NPARL Agronomist Bart Stevens, Ag Engineer Robert Evans and Physical Scientist Bill Iversen discuss their work developing precision sprinkler management systems in the February 2007 edition of “The Sugarbeet Grower.” The featured study compares two high-efficiency sprinkler irrigation methods within two sugarbeet and barley tillage systems (conventional and strip tillage). Results from the study show the potential advantages of high-efficiency sprinkler irrigation technology combined with reduced tillage for sugar better production. All three researchers are members of NPARL’s Agricultural Systems Research Unit, which Dr. Evans also heads.


(Bob Evans, 406.433.9496, robert.evans@ars.usda.gov)

(Bart Stevens, 406.433.9476, bart.stevens@ars.usda.gov)

(Bill Iversen, 406.433-9417, bill.iversen@ars.usda.gov)
 
 
 
 
 

ARS botanist invited to speak at summit, university.

 NPARL Botanist John Gaskin was invited to give two talks Feb. 21-22 in Idaho. Dr. Gaskin’s first presentation included a discussion of “Rush Skeleton Weed Genotypes” at the Rush Skeleton Weed Summet in Boise, ID, while at the second, he discussed “Heterosis as a factor in plant invasions." The latter speaking invitation came from the Center for Research on Invasive Species and Small Populations at the University of Idaho, Moscow. Dr. Gaskin is a member of NPARL’s Pest Management Research Unit.
 
(John Gaskin, 406.433.9444, john.gaskin@ars.usda.gov)


 
 

ARS irrigation specialist speaks at AAAS annual meeting.

NPARL Agricultural Engineer and irrigation specialist Dr. Robert Evans was invited to speak at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) annual meeting held in San Francisco, Feb. 15-18. Evans presentation entitled “New Methods and Technologies to Increase Water Use Efficiencies,” was based on a paper he coauthored with Dr. E. John Sadler at USDA-ARS, Columbia, MO. The duo postulates that increased competition for fresh water will require a paradigmatic shift within the next 25 years from maximizing productivity per unit of land area to maximizing productivity per unit of water consumed, particularly in the semi-arid western United States. Dr. Evans’ presentation was part of the “Water Crisis in Agriculture: How to Produce More with Less” session. He is head of NPARL’s Agricultural Systems Research Unit. The AAAS is an international non-profit organization dedicated to advancing science around the world and publishes the journal “Science,” as well as many scientific newsletters, books and reports.


(Bob Evans, 406.433.9496, robert.evans@ars.usda.gov)
 
 
 
 
ARS researchers participate in National Grasshopper Board meeting.

NPARL Research Entomologist David Branson is invited to speak at the National Grasshopper Management Board Annual Meeting in Reno, NV Feb. 15-16. Dr. Branson will be discussing his research into “Sustainable Management of Insect Herbivores in Grassland Ecosystems: New Perspectives in Grasshopper Control” developed from work conducted with Dr. Anthony Joern at Kansas State University and former NPARL Ecologist Dr. Gregory Sword. Their research was also featured in the September 2006 issue of “BioScience.” NPARL Research Ecologist Robert Srygley will also attend the meeting. Drs. Branson and Srygley are members of NPARL’s Pest Management Research Unit.
 
(David Branson, 406.433.9406, dave.branson@ars.usda.gov)
(Bob Srygley, 406.433.9420, robert.srygley@ars.usda.gov)
 
 
  
  
ARS scientist to participate in national range meeting.

NPARL Research Entomologist David Branson will present a poster at the 60th annual Society for Range Management meeting in Reno, NV, Feb. 10-16. The poster, entitled “Effects of fall fire and livestock grazing on grasshopper populations in the Little Missouri National Grassland,” reports on a 5-year research project conducted by Branson and former NPARL Ecologist Dr. Gregory Sword and funded by the US Forest Service and Dakota Prairie Grassland. Dr. Branson is a member of the Sidney ARS facility’s Pest Management Research Unit.
 
(David Branson, 406.433.9406, dave.branson@ars.usda.gov)
 
 
 
 

ARS Soil Scientist to participate in 4th USDA Greenhouse Gas Conference.

NPARL Soil Scientist Upendra Sainju has been invited to participate in the 4th annual USDA Greenhouse Gas Symposium, Feb. 5-9, in Baltimore, MD. This year’s conference is entitled “Positioning Agriculture and Forestry to Meet the Challenges of Climate Change.” For his part, Dr. Sainju will present a poster titled “Dryland Soil CO2 Emission and Carbon Storage as Influenced by Tillage, Cropping, and Nitrogen Fertilization” evaluating the effects of varying combinations of tillage, cropping, and N fertilization on dryland soil CO2 emission and C storage in the northern Great Plains. Dr. Sainju is a member of NPARL’s Agricultural Systems Research Unit.
 

(Upendra Sainju, 406.433.9408, upendra.sainju@ars.usda.gov)
 
 
 
 

ARS Botanist to Speak at WSSA Meeting.

NPARL Botanist John Gaskin has been invited to speak at the 47th annual meeting of the Weed Science Society of America to be held in San Antonio, TX , Feb 4-8. Dr. Gaskin will present his paper entitled “Clonal Structure of Invasive Hoary Cress (Lepidium Draba) Infestations” on Feb. 6 as part of the meeting’s Wildland and Aquatic Invasives section. Dr. Gaskin is a member of NPARL’s Pest Management Research Unit. The Weed Science Society of America, a non-profit professional society, promotes research, education, and extension outreach activities related to weeds; provides science-based information to the public and policy makers; and fosters awareness of weeds and their impacts on managed and natural ecosystems.
 

(John Gaskin, 406.433.9444, john.gaskin@ars.usda.gov)
 
 
 
 
ARS Grasshopper, Carbon Sequestration research featured at area Ag Shows.

NPARL will be participating in two area ag trade shows in the month of February to share research information from the Sidney, MT ARS lab with area producers. First on the agenda is the 54th National Hard Spring Wheat Show to be held in Williston, ND Feb. 5-7 and the second, the Glendive Agri-Trade Expo in Glendive, MT Feb. 9-10. Carbon sequestration research is featured in this year’s outreach effort by the lab’s Agricultural Systems Research Unit. That research by ASRU scientists Upendra Sainju, TheCan Caesar, Andrew Lenssen and Robert Evans showed that no till or reduced tillage with continuous cropping can increase carbon sequestration in dryland soils. Featured from the lab’s Pest Management Research Unit are several ongoing grasshopper research efforts by Entomologists David Branson and Stefan Jaronski, including studies using grazing and burning to manage populations; using microbial agents to control outbreaks, and even looking at the benefits grasshoppers provide through nutrient recycling. A special feature this year is a slide show presentation on the history of federal grasshopper research beginning with the establishment of the U.S. Entomological Commission in 1877 to the arrival of the ARS Rangeland Insect Laboratory at NPARL from Bozeman, MT in 1997. Technician Laura Senior put together the retrospective using old photographs showing outbreaks and control methods scanned from the original Insect Lab’s collection. In addition to the February shows, the lab previously participated in the annual MonDak Ag Days event at Sidney, MT Jan. 12-13.
 
(TheCan Caesar, 406.433.9415, thecan.caesar@ars.usda.gov)

(Bob Evans, 406.433.9496, robert.evans@ars.usda.gov
(Stefan Jaronski, 406.433.9486, stefan.jaronski@ars.usda.gov)
(Andy Lenssen, 406.433.9471, andy.lenssen@ars.usda.gov)
(Upendra Sainju, 406.433.9408, upendra.sainju@ars.usda.gov)
 
 
 
 
ARS reps help judge rural science fair.

Seven NPARL staff members, both scientists and technicians, helped judge the Rau Elementary School Science Fair held January 23 at the rural Sidney, MT, school. The judges reviewed numerous projects submitted by 4th through 6th grade students at the school, which serves approximately 60 students from the surrounding countryside. Participating from NPARL were: Technicians Audrey Harris, Deb Waters, Mo O’Mara, and Laura Senior, and scientists Dr. Jay Jabro, Dr. Tom Shanower and Dr. John Gaskin. Dr. Jabro is with the lab’s Agricultural Systems Research Unit, while the remaining volunteer judges are with the Pest Management Research Unit.
 

(John Gaskin, 406.433.9444, john.gaskin@ars.usda.gov)
(Jay Jabro, 406.433.9492, jay.jabro@ars.usda.gov)
 


 
 
Brown Bagger Series kicks off with talk on China.

NPARL Entomologist Tom Shanower kicks off the NPARL’s 2007 Brown Bagger Series Friday, January 26, with a presentation that is part research report and part travelogue. His talk, entitled “Foreign exploration for wheat stem sawfly natural enemies in China,” will be held in the lab’s Tech Transfer room and is open to the public. In his presentation, Dr. Shanower will discuss his trip to China this past summer in search of biological control agents to battle the wheat stem sawfly in the Western United States, as well as sharing scenes from the Chinese countryside and his impressions of life and agriculture in that country. This is the fifth year of NPARL’s informal (and informational) lecture series on research and agriculture-related topics. Upcoming 2007 topics and speakers will include wind energy development by Mike Carlsen of the Eastern Plains RC&D; wireless site specific irrigation by Dr. James Kim, NPARL post doc; biofuels research at the Montana State University Eastern Ag Research Center in Sidney by EARC Chemist Charles Flynn, and more.
 

(Tom Shanower, 406.433.9405, tom.shanower@ars.usda.gov)

(James Kim, 406.433.9430, james.kim@ars.usda.gov)
(Charles Flynn, 406.433.2208
 
 
 
 
ARS scientist named to APHIS group evaluating organism permit regs.

ARS Research Entomologist Stefan T. Jaronski, at NPARL in Sidney MT, has been appointed to a Regulatory Reforms Working Group recently established by USDA APHIS Plant Protection and Quarantine. The group, consisting of 10 personnel from inside and outside of APHIS, is chartered to devise a workplan for the reexamination and reformation of organism permitting regulations. Dr. Jaronski will be representing the interests of specialists in arthropod and weed biocontrol organisms; he is currently a microbial control agent scientist and his research deals with a number of non-indigenous entomopathogenic fungi.
 

(Stefan Jaronski, 406.433.9486, stefan.jaronski@ars.usda.gov)
 
 
 
 
Native American Internship opportunities presented by ARS labs.

NPARL Pest Management Unit Research leader Tom Shanower joined representatives from four other ARS research facilities in North and South Dakota to present internship program opportunities for Native American students at their respective facilities. The five ARS labs offered several program options for students meeting at the Northern Great Plains ARS lab in Mandan, ND, January 24. Internship proposals presented by Dr. Shanower included projects in “Biocontrol of Sugarbeet Pests” and “Molecular Characterization of Weeds.” Projects from other participating ARS labs included internships studying insect genetics, rangeland plant diversity, nutritional influences on bone cells, evaluation of corn lines for northern corn rootworm resistance, and more. The summer internships are designed to provide Native American students with “hands on” research opportunities that build on their academic backgrounds and that may also introduce them to new career opportunities. The program is currently in its third year.
 

(Tom Shanower, tom.shanower@ars.usda.gov)
 
 
 
 
Rural elementary students tour Montana ARS laboratory.

A dozen third and fourth graders from Lambert (MT) Public School toured the USDA-ARS Northern Plains Ag Research Lab in Sidney, Montana as part of a field day Jan. 12 that included a stop at the local MonDak Ag Days in Sidney. The youngsters learned about the history of federal grasshopper research in a presentation from Biological Science Technician Laura Senior, and then about current grasshopper and Mormon cricket research underway at the lab from Senior and Technical Information Specialist Beth Redlin. In addition to some hands on demonstrations that allowed the youngsters to examine several pinned insects, the youngsters were also given a tour of the facility and got to see live grasshoppers under study in biochambers at the site.
 
(Beth Redlin, 406.433.9427, beth.redlin@ars.usda.gov)
 
 
 
 

ARS participates in irrigation workshop.

Three NPARL irrigation specialists participated in the daylong “Maximize Your Dollars Irrigation Workshop” held at the Sidney ARS facility January 3. NPARL Physical Scientist Bill Iversen opened the session with a discussion on “Strip Tillage Management” in sugar beets, while NPARL Agronomist Bart Stevens provided participants on overview on “The ABCs of N-P-K: Nutrient Management for Irrigated Crops.” Rounding out the ARS lineup was Dr. Robert Evans, agricultural Engineer and head of the lab’s Agricultural Systems Research Unit. Dr. Evans provided insights on “Switching to Sprinkler Irrigation” for the group. The event was sponsored by ARS and the Extension Services from Montana State University and North Dakota State University. Other topics addressed included water quality concerns, corn, soybean and forage production, and the economics of converting irrigation management.
 
(Robert Evans, 406.433.9486, robert.evans@ars.usda.gov)
(Bart Stevens, 406.433.9476, bart.stevens@ars.usda.gov)

(Bill Iversen, 406.433-9417, bill.iversen@ars.usda.gov)


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Last Modified: 9/25/2008