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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Issue: July/August 2003
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Northern PlainFacts.Northern PlainFacts image extension.

Issue: July/August 2003


The Northern PlainFacts from the USDA-ARS Northern Plains Agricultural Research Laboratory in Sidney, Montana, offers brief updates on research, personnel and events at the lab, and includes contact names and e-mail addresses for those interested in further details.

 

In This Month's Issue:

 

NPARL Unveils New Hoary Cress Website

Researcher to Speak at Insect Field Day

Grasshopper Researcher to Speak at Field Tour

Grasshopper Work Featured in Regional Newspapers

Ag Engineer to speak at Experiment Station Field Day

Mormon Cricket Research Featured on National Geographic Program

Canadian Weed Researcher to Give Seminar at NPARL

Technician to Speak at Daniels County Field Tour

Entomologist to Speak at Invertebrate Pathology Meeting

ARS’ TEAM Leafy Spurge Program Featured by CAB International

ARS Laboratory Featured on Ag Processor’s Tour

ARS Sidney, MT Lab Participates in New Irrigation Research Project

Plant Pathologist to Participate in APS Meeting

Plant Pathologist to Give Presentation on New Cercospora Protocol

ARS Laboratory Earns Federal Laboratory Consortium Award

Entomologist to participate in saltcedar tour

 

NPARL Unveils New Hoary Cress Website

NPARL recently unveiled a new website dedicated to providing information on the noxious weed hoary cress (Lepidium draba, formerly Cardaria draba) and research efforts underway to control it. The website is a vehicle of the Hoary Cress Consortium, a collection of state, federal and international agencies, universities and organizations (including NPARL) formed in 2001 to explore biological control options and study the ecology and systematics of this important pest plant. The website was developed by NPARL Postdoctoral Research Associate and Botanist Dr. John Gaskin, in collaboration with Dr. Mark Schwarzlaender (University of Idaho-Moscow), with the aid of NPARL Computer Clerk Collene Toavs and NPARL Technical Information Specialist Bethany Redlin. You can currently access the website by navigating to the NPARL home page (http://www.sidney.ars.usda.gov/) and then locating the appropriate link in that page’s "Up-To-Date Lab News" section or you can simply click here: http://www.sidney.ars.usda.gov/hoarycress/index.html. The website contains information and photos on the plant and its taxonomy along with updates on various Consortium research programs. Consortium partners include: CABI Biosciences, Switzerland; USDA-ARS European Biological Control Laboratory, Montpellier, France; Agriculture, Food and Rural Development, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada; USDA-APHIS-PPQ, Forestry Science Lab, Montana State University, Bozeman, MT; USDA-ARS Northern Plains Agricultural Research Laboratory, Sidney, MT; USDA-ARS Eastern Oregon Agricultural Research Center, Burns, OR; USDI Bureau of Indian Affairs, Billing, MT; USDI Bureau of Land Management, Utah, Montana, Oregon; California Department of Food and Agriculture, Sacramento, CA; Idaho Department of Agriculture, Boise, ID; Oregon Department of Agriculture, Salem, OR; Idaho Fish and Game, Nampa, ID; National Bison Range, Moise, MT; University of Idaho, Moscow, ID; Montana State University, Bozeman, MT; Oregon State University, Malheur Experiment Station, Ontario, OR; Wyoming Weed & Pest, Fremont, Big Horn, Crookand Washakie Counties; and Malheur-Owyhee Watershed Council, Ontario, OR.

Researcher to Speak at Insect Field Day

Research Entomologist and Insect Pathologist Dr. Stefan Jaronski will be making a presentation at the North Dakota State University’s Sugar Beet Insect Field Day/Demonstration Plot Tour, in St. Thomas, ND on July 16. During his presentation, Dr. Jaronski will discuss his research on bio-based management of sugar beet pests and diseases, which centers on development of a fungal bioco ntrol (mycoinsecticide) of the sugar beet root maggot (SBRM) to be transferred to industry for commercialization. This work is in cooperation with Mark Boetel and Bob Dregseth, North Dakota State University, Barry Jacobsen, Montana State University, and Larry Campbell, USDA/Fargo, and is part of a larger, biologically based management system for sugar beet pests and pathogens using microorganisms, cultural practices, resistant/tolerant beet hybrids, and induced systemic response.

(Stefan Jaronski, 406-433-9486, sjaronski[at]sidney.ars.usda.gov)

Grasshopper Researcher to Speak at Field Tour

Entomologist Dr. David Branson will update area producers on ARS grasshopper research during the 23rd Annual Swank Variety Tour Thursday, July 17, at the Swank farm in northeastern Montana. The Swank family sponsors the popular educational event in cooperation with the Culbertson and Poplar Chambers of Commerce, area businesses, neighbors, the MSU Extension Service, Eastern Montana Agriculture Research, and chemical companies. In addition to Dr. Branson’s grasshopper research and control update, topics on the day’ s agenda include discussions of spring wheat and durum varieties, updates from area chemical and malting barley representatives, and information on John Deere's AutoTrac GPS guidance steering system.

(David Branson, 406.433.9406, dbranson[at]sidney.ars.usda.gov)

Grasshopper Work Featured in Regional Newspapers

NPARL grasshopper research work using canola oil as an insect attractant to enhance the efficacy of a registered hopper pathogen, was featured in the July 21st edition of the "Rapid City Journal" (a South Dakota daily newspaper). Journal reporter Kevin Wooster interviewed NPARL Insect Pathologist Stefan Jaronski and his collaborator Dr. Nelson Foster (USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Phoenix) as they were applying the fungus Beauveria bassiana mixed with canola oil to multiple 40-acre test plots at an Edgemont SD ranch. The canola oil is used to attract the grasshoppers, which then are exposed to the deadly fungus contained in it. The Beauveria fungus kills by penetrating the grasshopper's skin, after which the fungus grows inside the insect, ultimately killing its host. The attractive powers of canola and some other vegetable oils for grasshoppers were discovered several years ago by Dr. Jeff Lockwood, University of Wyoming. Jaronski and Lockwood began field evaluations of Beauveria fungus with canola oil in 2002. This year Foster joined the effort with his agency's resources. The three researchers hope the deadly combination will prove effective enough to replace current chemical treatments less friendly to the environment. The full news article can be read online at http://www.rapidcityjournal.com/articles/2003/07/21/news/local/news03.txt. The story was also picked up by the Associated Press, appearing in several other newspapers on July 22, including the "Billings Gazette" (a daily newspaper in Billings, Montana).

(Stefan Jaronski, 406-433-9486, sjaronski[at]sidney.ars.usda.gov)

Ag Engineer to speak at Experiment Station Field Day

Agricultural Engineer and Irrigation Specialist Dr. Robert Evans will participate in Montana State University's Eastern Ag Research Center Field Day Wednesday, July 23, in Sidney, MT. Dr. Evans will provide an update on ARS irrigation research being conducted by NPARL and joint efforts with MSU and North Dakota State University’ s Williston Research Extension Center. In addition to Dr. Evans, scientists with the EARC, MSU-Bozeman, and industry representatives will provide visitors with updates in a variety of research areas focusing on irrigated and dryland durum and malting barley, sugar beet, safflower and chickpea disease control, food soybean, onion and potato research and variety trials of small grains, sugar beets, safflower and other specialty crops. Event organizers and speakers include safflower expert Dr. Jerald Bergman, superintendent of the Eastern Ag Research Center; EARC Research Agronomist Dr. Joyce Eckhoff and EARC Research Chemist Charles Flynn.

(Robert Evans, 406.433.9496, revans[at]sidney.ars.usda.gov)

Mormon Cricket Research Featured on National Geographic Program

Research Ecologist Greg Sword and members of his Mormon Cricket tracking research team were featured Wednesday, July 23, in a segment of "National Geographic Today," a daily news journal aired on the National Geographic Channel. In addition to Dr. Sword, a National Geographic reporter interviewed Dr. Pat Lorch from the University of North Carolina and NPARL Biological Science Technician Laura Senior. The reporter spent a day with the research crew filming the tracking process, which included tagging individual insects with radios and then recapturing them to collect the data on their movements. A flightless insect, the Mormon cricket is known to be capable of traveling up to a mile a day, although a particularly hardy individual tracked by the team traveled a surprising 1.6 miles in one day across rugged mountainous terrain. Over the past several weeks, the researchers have been studying three different bands of Mormon crickets, with millions of insects in each band, as they move across northwestern Colorado near Dinosaur National Monument. Also collaborating on the project, but not available to be interviewed was Dr. Darryl Gwynne from the University of Toronto at Mississauga.

(Greg Sword, 406.433.9429, gsword[at]sidney.ars.usda.gov)

Canadian Weed Researcher to Give Seminar at NPARL

Dr. Susan Boyetchko, a Research Scientist with the Ecological Pest Management Unit, and leader of the Biological Weed Control Group at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's Saskatoon Research Centre, will be visiting NPARL July 24-25. While at NPARL, Dr. Boyetchko will present a seminar entitled "Development of Pre-emergent Soil Bacteria for Biological Control of Grass Weeds," and meet with individual scientists to discuss shared areas of interest. In addition to weed biocontrol research, Dr. Boyetchko also works in the areas of applied microbiology and ecological crop protection. Her visit was arranged by Dr. Tony Caesar, Research Plant Pathologist at NPARL.

(Anthony Caesar, 406.433.9412, caesara[at]sidney.ars.usda.gov)

Technician to Speak at Daniels County Field Tour

Biological Science Technician Deb Waters will be participating in the Daniels County Field Tour July 25 when interested producers tour sawfly research plots at the Mark Furuli farm south of Flaxville, MT. Waters joins Dr. Bill Berzonsky, Spring Wheat Plant Breeder at NDSU, Fargo, ND to discuss research being done on the sawfly plot, which contains several varieties of wheat that are monitored throughout the growing season and then harvested and sent to Fargo for more detailed analysis. Waters has worked with Dr. Berzonsky on the sawfly plot and collects samples throughout the summer for further research. She is also involved in monitoring other sawfly areas in the county along with surveying for other insect pests. Other Field Tour presenters include Montana State University-Bozeman IPM Specialist Dr. Sue Blodgett who will discuss insect pests of canola, field peas and alfalfa, and MSU Eastern Ag Research Center (Sidney, MT) Agronomist Dr. Joyce Ekhoff who will discuss her spring wheat and durum variety research. Tour participants will also look at three relatively new varieties in Daniels County: "Legacy" malting barley, "Hayes" hay barley, and "1040" field peas. The tour is sponsored by the MSU Daniels County Extension Office.

(Deb Waters, 406.433.9491, dwaters[at]sidney.ars.usda.gov)

Entomologist to Speak at Invertebrate Pathology Meeting

Stefan T. Jaronski, Research Entomologist, will present an invited talk entitled, "Commercializing Mycoinsecticides: The U.S. Experience," at the 2003 annual meeting of the Society for Invertebrate Pathology in Burlington, VT, July 25-30. His talk is part of a symposium on "Is Bigger Always Better? A Comparison of Industrial-scale vs. Cottage Industry-scale Production of Microbial Pesticides." Jaronski will discuss the challenges of registering and commercializing microbial biocontrol agents and the impact those challenges impose on the commercialization process in this country. His remarks are based on his 17 years of industrial experience before he joined USDA in 2000.

He will also be presenting a poster entitled, "Development of a Biologically Based Pest and Disease Management System in Sugar Beets," coauthored with Julie Grace and Selene Gaffri of the NPARL staff. Their poster details the initial phases of his developing a fungal control agent for controlling the sugarbeet root maggot. In addition, Jaronski is coauthor on another poster and a student oral presentation at the meeting.

(Stefan Jaronski, 406-433-9486, sjaronski[at]sidney.ars.usda.gov)

ARS’ TEAM Leafy Spurge Program Featured by CAB International

USDA-ARS’s TEAM Leafy Spurge Program is highlighted in the latest issue of Biocontrol Information and News, a quarterly journal published by CAB International. The article can also be found on CABI ’s PestCAB Website at http://pest.cabweb.org/index.htm. The article is the second on the program to appear in "Biocontrol News and Information" and features further updates on TEAM Leafy Spurge (TLS) efforts to develop effective integrated pest management (IPM) strategies for combating leafy spurge, a noxious weed. It also highlights TLS’ educational efforts to inform its customers and the general public about new strategies and describes the dramatic reductions demonstrated by the area-wide research and demonstration program over a four-state area. The article also notes the program’s receipt of a national ARS Technology Transfer award for its work in "getting the word out," as well as the tools needed, to do the job.

ARS Laboratory Featured on Ag Processor’s Tour

On Aug. 6-7, the USDA-ARS Northern Plains Agricultural Research Laboratory participated in the 6th Annual MonDak Ag Open, which provides ag processors from around the country with an overview of the agricultural potential found in the Montana Dakota region. The Sidney, MT ARS lab was one of the featured stops in a series of tours which showcases the agricultural capabilities found in the region and highlights its potential for growth and development through expanded irrigation and production of value added and high value crops. Nearly 300 people participate in the event each year, including more than 200 invited guests.

ARS Sidney, MT Lab Participates in New Irrigation Research Project

On Thursday, Aug. 7, a groundbreaking ceremony for the three-agency, two-state MonDak Irrigation Research and Demonstration Project was held at the project site about 25 miles east of Williston, ND. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service’ Northern Plains Agricultural Research Laboratory is a research participant in the project, along with North Dakota State University’s Williston Research Extension Center (Williston, ND) and Montana State University’s Eastern Agricultural Research Center (Sidney, MT). Among the dignitaries speaking at the Thursday ceremony were U.S. Senator Byron Dorgan, North Dakota Governor John Hoeven, and ARS Northern Plains Area Assistant Area Director Dr. Eric Roos. Future research at the site will focus on high value irrigated crops along with new irrigation technologies. NPARL Agricultural Engineer Dr. Robert Evans will head up the ARS research team which will study water, agronomic and tillage management of selected cropping systems under linear move irrigation systems, as well as monitor soil quality impacts resulting from conversion of dryland to irrigated cropping.

(Robert Evans, 406.433.9496, revans[at]sidney.ars.usda.gov)

Plant Pathologist to Participate in APS Meeting

Research Plant Pathologist Robert Lartey will be participating in the 2003 Annual meeting of the American Phytophathological Society to be held in Charlotte, NC, Aug. 9-13. The overall session is entitled "Plant Health and Security in the Age of Genomics." Dr. Lartey will take part in discussions on "Detection of Plant Pathogens for Biosecurity" and "The National Plant Pest and Disease Diagnostics Network (NP2D2N): A Federal-State Partnership for Homeland Security."

(Robert T Lartey, 406.433.9490, rlartey[at]sidney.ars.usda.gov)

Plant Pathologist to Give Presentation on New Cercospora Protocol

Plant Pathologist Dr. Robert Lartey will give an invited seminar to approximately 40 scientists at Sigma-Aldrich / Biotechnology in St. Louis, MO, on Friday, August 15. Dr. Lartey will be discussing a new protocol developed at NPARL for the rapid detection of Cercospora beticola in plant tissues. C. beticola is the causal agent of Cercospora leaf spot in sugar beets. Information on the technique, which was developed using Sigma-Aldrich’s Extract-N-Amp Plant PCR Kit, is scheduled to be published in the next issue of the Journal of Sugar Beet Research. The article is authored by Lartey, along with Research Plant Pathologist John J. Weiland (USDA-ARS Red River Valley Agricultural Research Center, Fargo, ND), NPARL Microbiologist TheCan Caesar-TonThat and former NPARL Biological Science Technician Sarah Bucklin-Comiskey. Lartey was invited to give the technical seminar to scientists with Sigma-Aldrich’s recently established plant biotech research group.

(Robert T. Lartey, 406.433.9490, rlartey[at]sidney.ars.usda.gov)

ARS Laboratory Earns Federal Laboratory Consortium Award

A consortium of federal laboratories has recognized the Agricultural Research Service’s Sidney, MT laboratory for its exemplary support in the transfer of federal technologies and programs to the private sector. The USDA-ARS Northern Plains Agricultural Research Laboratory, under the direction of Drs. Tom Shanower and Robert Evans, was named a 2003 outstanding laboratory winner for the Federal Lab Consortium’s Mid-Continent Region. The award recognizes significant contributions to the public sector through various interactive and educational programs as well as with technology developments that have directly benefited the agricultural community. In particular, NPARL was cited for its work with TEAM Leafy Spurge, an area-wide IPM research and demonstration project; its efforts to combat Cercospora leaf spot, a serious disease of sugar beets, and its outreach and education efforts that have led to the joint development of several websites and CDs providing information on the identification and management of several weed and insect pests. The award will be presented at a ceremony during the regional FLC meeting, August 18-21, 2003, in Oahu, HI. The Mid-Continent Region of the FLC includes 14 states and over 100 laboratories.

(Robert Evans, 406.433.9496, revans[at]sidney.ars.usda.gov)

(Thomas Shanower, 406.433.9405, tshanower[at]sidney.ars.usda.gov)

Entomologist to participate in saltcedar tour

Research Entomologist Dave Kazmer gave three presentations on saltcedar during a regional field tour held near Billings, Montana, Aug. 20. Kazmer, who is overseeing the first releases of a biological control agent for saltcedar in Montana and Wyoming, discussed that effort along with presentations on "Saltcedar Biology and Distribution" and "Saltcedar DNA Research." Also speaking on saltcedar control at the event was Doug Parker of the U.S. Forest Service in Albuquerque, NM. The day-long field tour was organized by Scott Bochness, weed district supervisor with the Yellowstone and Bighorn County Weed Districts, and Jennifer Cramer, head of the Montana Saltcedar Task Force. Saltcedar is an invasive species originating from Eurasia that now infests more than 1.5 million riparian acres in the United States. A heavy water user, it contributes to saline soils and is responsible for lowering water tables and depleting standing or running water in reservoirs, lakes, streams and rivers.

(Dave Kazmer, 406.433.9440, dkazmer[at]sidney.ars.usda.gov)

 


Last Modified: 11/12/2004