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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Northern PlainFacts.

Issue: July/August 2009


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 researcher participated in world conference of ecological restoration 

ARS researcher participated in invertebrate pathology symposium

ARS researcher participated in weed management symposium

ARS researchers participates in Ecological Society of America annual meeting

ARS agricultural engineer to speak at irrigation field tour

ARS Sidney, MT lab a stop in Ag Processors Tour

ARS grasshopper research featured in University of Wyoming ag publication 

ARS irrigation scientists speak at Montana State University Field Day

ARS researchers speak at Tri-County Leafy Surge Tour

ATTRA agronomist tours Montana ARS dryland plots

ARS researchers participate in Wyoming Extension Center Field Day

ARS researcher participates in international soil symposium
 
 
 
   

  

ARS researcher participated in world conference of ecological restoration

NPARL Research Plant Pathologist Anthony Caesar spoke at the 2009 Society for Restoration Research, “Making Change in a Changing World”, held August 23-27, 2009 in Perth, Australia. Dr. Caesar’s presentation was entitled, "The Impact of Plant Pathogens on Post-weed Biocontrol Restoration". Other speakers also traveled from Canada, the United Kingdom, and Spain in addition to many from the United States and across Australia. The conference provided an international focus for the world-class restoration issues and initiatives underway in Western Australia and used an array of themes to represent current research and global restoration practices. Caesar is a member of the Pest Management Research Unit.
 

(Tony Caesar, 406.433.9415, tony.caesar@ars.usda.gov)

  
 

ARS researcher participated in invertebrate pathology symposium

NPARL’s Research Entomologist, Stefan Jaronski spoke at the 42nd Annual Conference of Society of Invertebrate Pathology held on August 16-20 in Park City, UT. Dr. Jaronski was an organizer and moderator of the Fungus Division Symposium session, Fungi in Soil Habitats—Doing it in the Dirt Symposium on Tuesday, August 18. In addition to moderating this division’s symposium, Jaronski also presented a paper titled, "It’s a jungle out there! Abiotic and biotic factors affecting entomopathogenic fungi in the soil arena". This presentation will summarize what is and is not known about factors that can affect the successful outcome of using fungal pest control agents against soil insects. Jaronski along with Denny Bruck of USDA-ARS Horticultural Crops Research Laboratory, Corvallis, OR, were second and third authors, respectively, to a presented paper by Jarrod Leland of Novozymes Biologicals, a world leading company in bioinnovation. This paper was titled, "Efficacy vs. Soil Insects: Tales from the Battlefront (Successes, Failures, & Thoughts About Why)" aims towards a greater understanding of the impacts of soil environments on spore persistence and activity as well as interactions with the rhizosphere may further identify opportunities for improving product efficacy. Prior to the commencement of the meeting Jaronski also attended the Biocontrol Science & Technolgoy Editorial Board meeting on Saturday, August 15. Jaronski is a member of NPARL’s Pest Management Research Unit.
 

(Stefan Jaronski, 406.433.9486, stefan.jaronski@ars.usda.gov
 
 

ARS researcher participated in weed management symposium

NPARL Research Plant Pathologist Anthony Caesar spoke at the third annual Northern Plains Weed Management Symposium held August 11-13, 2009 near Washburn, ND. Dr. Caesar gave a presentation titled, "The role of plant pathology in the biological control of invasive weeds" on Wednesday, August 12. Other speakers invited were from North Dakota Department of Agriculture, Canada and several others from neighboring states who also gave in-depth educational insight related to prevention, control and long-term noxious weed management. The symposium’s emphasis focused on weed species currently found in North Dakota or with a high probability of moving into the state. Weed Board members, county, state and federal park managers, weed control personnel, and other interested individuals attended the two and 1/2 day symposium at the Western 4-H Camp. Caesar is a member of the Pest Management Research Unit.

 

 (Tony Caesar, 406.433.9415, tony.caesar@ars.usda.gov)

 

 

ARS researchers participates in Ecological Society of America annual meeting

NPARL Research Ecologists, Erin Espeland and Robert Srygley spoke at the Ecological Society of America annual meeting held in Albuquerque, NM, on August 2-7. Robert Srygley presented a contributed oral presentation titled, “Weakness in the Band: Nutrient Imbalance and Immunodeficiency in Mass-migrating Cannibalistic katydids” as part of the Behavior: Migration and Movement I session held Tuesday, August 4. Dr. Espeland also contributed oral presentations of two recent papers. The first oral paper presentation, entitled “Genetic variation and local adaptation at an invasion edge of cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum)” given on August 4 as part of the Evolution: Selection and Adaptation - Interactions session. The second oral paper titled, “Mechanisms of Plant-Plant Facilitation in Survivorship,” presented on August 5 as part of the Population Biology session and coauthored by Elizabeth A. Leger of University of Nevada, Reno, and Mark S. West of USDA ARS Northern Plains Area. The five-day event included oral and poster presentations, a symposium, special sessions and workshops in addition to more than 40 displayed exhibits by commercial, government, and non-profit entities. Ecology is the scientific discipline that is concerned with the relationships between organisms and their past, present, and future environments. These relationships include physiological responses of individuals, structure and dynamics of populations, interactions among species, organization of biological communities, and processing of energy and matter in ecosystems. The goal of ESA is to close the gap between knowledge and application. ESA has over 10,000 members conduct research, teach, and use ecological science to address environmental issues and regarding fish and wildlife habitat and management programs and issues in the region. Espeland and Srygley are members of the Pest Management Research Unit.

 

(Erin Espeland, 406.433.9416, erin.espeland@ars.usda.gov)

  

 

ARS agricultural engineer to speak at irrigation field tour

ARS Agricultural Engineer and NPARL Ag Systems Research Unit Leader Robert Evans has been invited to speak on “Irrigation Water Management” and related ARS research at the Williston (ND) Research Extension Center’s Irrigation Field Tour held on Thursday, July 30, at North Dakota State University’s Nesson Valley Irrigation Research and Demonstration Project. This will be the first time WREC will be hosting the irrigation field tour at Nesson Valley, which was initiated in 2002. At that time, eighty acres of the research farm was provided to NPARL researchers for their aid in helping to develop the new site. Current ARS studies at the site include projects evaluating irrigation frequency and sugarbeet-potato-barley rotation interactions.
 

(Bob Evans, 406.433-9496, robert.evans@ars.usda.gov)
 
 

ARS Sidney, MT lab a stop in Ag Processors Tour

NPARL is once again a featured tour stop for the annual Mon-Dak Ag Open, an annual event that focuses on attracting value-added agriculture processors and related industries to the Mon-Dak region. The 2009 event will be held August 4-6 and includes the “Big Sky Diversity: Irrigation, Beef and Sugar Tour” to NPARL and surrounding ag operations and businesses on August 5. NPARL Physical Scientist Bill Iversen and Agricultural Systems Research Unit Leader and Ag Engineer Robert Evans will provide tourgoers with an overview of NPARL’s irrigated cropping systems research at the site, which includes just completed studies showing the benfits of strip tillage in sugar beet rotations and new studies looking at alternative three-year rotations incorporating corn and edible soybean. The Mon-Dak Ag Open is an annual three-day event that showcases and promotes the Mon-Dak region as an ideal place for new agricultural businesses and development. The event also promotes the irrigation development and potential in the region and provides ag processors from all across the country the unique opportunity to view new agricultural products growing in the region and the processing of those crops. Tours are coordinated by area county extension ag agents, economic developers, NRCS staff and local agribusiness leaders. The event allows visitors to meet with the banks, area producers, state and local officials, researchers and processors.
   

(Bob Evans, 406.433-9496, robert.evans@ars.usda.gov)

(Bill Iversen, 406.433.9417, bill.iversen@ars.usda.gov 
 
 
 

ARS grasshopper research featured in University of Wyoming ag publication

NPARL Research Entomologist Stefan Jaronski’s work with a newly identified, native Metarhizium fungus that attacks grasshoppers is featured in the 2009 issue of “Reflections,” the University of Wyoming’s Agricultural Experiment Station (AES) research magazine designed to showcase the College of Agriculture’s teaching, research and outreach programs. University of Wyoming Extension Specialists Scott Schell and Alexander Latchininsky and several students worked with Jaronski in distributing the new strain called DWR346 in Wyoming test plots near Lusk. It’s hoped DWR346, originally isolated by Dr. Don Roberts of Utah State and identified as a prime candidate by Jaronski, will provide growers, and organic growers in particular, with a new, natural control tool that, unlike existing pesticides, won’t harm other beneficial insects such as honey bees, or the environment. Jaronski is a member of NPARL’s Pest Management Research Unit.
 

(Stefan Jaronski, 406.433.9486, stefan.jaronski@ars.usda.gov)
 
 

ARS irrigation scientists speak at Montana State University Field Day

ARS Agricultural Engineer and NPARL Ag Systems Research Unit Leader Robert Evans and Research Agronomist Bart Stevens both gave invited presentations at Montana State University’s (MSU) Eastern Agricultural Research Center Field Day in Sidney, MT July 16th. Dr. Evan’s talk was entitled “New 3-Year Irrigated Cropping Systems Research at ARS” and discussed a new study at the Sidney, MT location in 2009 looking at alternative three-year rotations for irrigated producers in the region incorporating sugarbeet, malting barley, grain corn and edible soybean. For his part, Dr. Stevens discussed research he’s been doing in “Nitrogen studies in irrigated rotations” that have shown in part that conventional fertilizer recommendations are acceptable for strip tilled sugarbeets. Both scientists are members of the Sidney ARS lab’s Agricultural Systems Research Unit.
 

(Bob Evans, 406.433-9496, robert.evans@ars.usda.gov)
 

 

ARS researchers speak at Tri-County Leafy Surge Tour

NPARL Pest Management Research Leader John Gaskin and Biological Science Technician Mary Mayer participated in the Tri-County Leafy Spurge Tour near Fallon, MT Monday, July 13. Dr. Gaskin spoke on “Biological Control of Leafy Spurge,” addressing biocontrol agent species suitability, site selection and more. Both Gaskin and Mayer fielded questions from producers. In addition to Dr. Gaskin’s presentation, producers on the tour also heard from Dow AgroSciences representatives who discussed new Tordon herbicide combinations for leafy spurge and from ARS Animal Scientist Richard Waterman from the Ft. Keogh Livestock and Rangeland Research Laboratory at Miles City, MT. Dr. Waterman discussed his research investigating the relationships between grazing livestock and noxious weeds. In particular, he’s studying the rumen effects when leafy spurge is consumed and tracking rumen microbial populations. In addition to the talks, tour participants were also able to examine leafy spurge infestations in the area and see the proper release of insect biocontrol agents on the weed. The tour was sponsored by Dow AgroSciences, Farmers Union in Terry, and the Fallon County Weed District.
 

(John Gaskin, 406.433.9444, john.gaskin@ars.usda.gov)

(Mary Mayer, 406.433.9426, mary.mayer@ars.usda.gov)
 
 

ATTRA agronomist tours Montana ARS dryland plots

Susan Tallman, an Agronomy and Cropping Specialist with the National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service, toured NPARL dryland research plots Saturday July 11th with NPARL Weed Ecologist Andy Lenssen to learn more about ARS research efforts underway in Eastern Montana and Western North Dakota. During her visit Tallman toured dryland plots at two different ARS locations, looking at studies examining biofuels (including oilseed-durum rotations and camelina planting depth impacts on seed germination); dryland corn seeding rates and row configurations and their impact on yields; greenhouse gas emissions and crop yields for different cropping sequences and nitrogen fertilization rates, and more. In addition, Tallman viewed two large, long-term sustainable systems trials: the first, an alternate year versus stacked durum rotation, and the second, a four crop rotation of increasing diversity with two tillage (zero and conventional) and two management systems (ecological and conventional, both varied by crop). The trials are designed to identify new sustainable rotations and practices for the northern Great Plains region that increase profitability through improved yields and soil and water quality, while reducing weed and disease pressure, chemical inputs and environmental impacts. The National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service, also known as ATTRA, provides information and other technical assistance to farmers, ranchers, Extension agents, educators, and others involved in sustainable agriculture in the United States. (ATTRA was formerly known as the "Appropriate Technology Transfer for Rural Areas" project.) ATTRA is managed by the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) and is funded under a grant from the United States Department of Agriculture's Rural Business-Cooperative Service (USDA-RBS) and has often been cited as an example of a successful partnership between a private nonprofit (NCAT) and a public agency (USDA-RBS). Lenssen is with NPARL’s Agricultural Systems Research Unit.
 

(Andy Lenssen, 406.433.9471, andy.lenssen@ars.usda.gov)
 
 

ARS researchers participate in Wyoming Extension Center Field Day

NPARL Research Agronomist Bart Stevens and Physical Scientist Bill Iversen were invited to speak at the University of Wyoming’s Powell Research and Extension Center (PREC) Field Day Thursday, July 9th in Powell. The ARS researchers discussed their pioneering sugarbeet strip tillage research with Field Day attendees. Among the topics addressed by Stevens and Iversen were equipment needs/modifications; and tips on preferred fertilizer placement, irrigation method (sprinkler best, but furrow is doable), soil types (light erodible best) and the importance of guidance systems and more. ARS research has shown that strip tillage typically provides equal yields, but better snow capture and wind protection for young plants, and equal or better sugar content when compared to conventionally grown sugar beets, with major savings in time and energy costs. Other topics at the Field Day included presentations by PREC researchers on grass seed establishment and new herbicides for weed control in small grain. Stevens and Iversen are both members of NPARL’s Agricultural Systems Research Unit.

 

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

(Bill Iversen, 406.433.9417, bill.iversen@ars.usda.gov)
 

  

ARS researcher participates in international soil symposium

NPARL Research Soil Scientist Upendra Sainju is participating in the International Symposium on Soil Organic Matter Dynamics held July 6-9 in Colorado Springs, CO. The symposium covers a range of topics on the vital role of soil organic matter (SOM) in the function and sustainability of terrestrial ecosystems (e.g., cropland, grassland, forest, tundra) and the global carbon cycle. Dr. Sainju will present a poster entitled “Tillage, Crop Rotation, and Cultural Practice Effects on Dryland Residue and Soil Organic Matter,” which he coauthored with fellow NPARL Agricultural Systems Research Unit (ASRU) scientists Andrew Lenssen, TheCan Caesar-TonThat, Robert Lartey, Robert Evans and Brett Allen. The poster looks at an ASRU study evaluating the effects of four years of tillage, crop rotation, and differing cultural practices on surface residue and soil bulk density, organic C, and total N contents at the 0-20 cm depth in eastern Montana, USA. Among the findings, the study showed that increased diversified crop rotations increased crop biomass and soil surface residue, especially in no-tilled soils, and that increased crop residue additions increased soil organic C and total N, especially at the subsurface layer. A special issue of the journal Plant and Soil will be published from volunteered peer-reviewed papers presented at the conference. Symposium sponsors included Colorado State; Natural Resources Ecology Laboratory; City of Colorado Springs: ARS; Agricultural Sciences; NRCS; Warner College of Natural Resources and 25 X ‘25.
 

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

 


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Last Modified: 12/17/2009
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