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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Issue: January/February 2004
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Northern PlainFacts.Northern PlainFacts image extension.

Issue: January/February 2004

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:

Researcher to speak at regional sugar beet meeting

IT personnel to meet with regional tech council on website accessibility

Scientists to participate in regional ag forum

Grasshopper specialist to report on research at national board meeting

Scientist to speak at Montana Weed Control Association meeting

Scientist to speak at North Dakota Weed Association Meeting

Hiring of soil scientist Dr. Upendra M. Sainju

New weed scientist featured at NPARL Brown Bagger

Wheat Stem Sawfly researcher speaks at wheat workshop

ARS researcher to speak at regional sugar beet meeting

Research Entomologist Stefan Jaronski is speaking at the 2004 Sugarbeet Research and Reporting Sessions in Fargo, ND, Jan. 6. Dr. Jaronski's presentation is entitled "The Continuing Saga: Metarhizium anisopliae as a biocontrol of Sugarbeet Root Maggot in high vs. low pressure situations," coauthored with Joyce Eckhoff (MSU), Mark Boetel (NDSU), Larry Campbell (USDA), Robert Dregseth (NDSU), and Alan Schroeder (NDSU). His presentation concerns his cooperative field research into microbial control of sugarbeet root maggot. An annual Sugarbeet Research Reporting Session has been held in Fargo since 1970. Each year, sugarbeet researchers from several states and Canadian provinces use this opportunity to share their research findings concerning sugarbeet insect, pathogen and weed management, and sugarbeet agronomy. The meeting is attended by a wide variety of scientists, extension agents, sugar cooperative personnel, seed company representatives, and growers.

(Stefan Jaronski, 406.433.9486, sjaronski[at]

ARS IT personnel to meet with regional tech council on website accessibility

Information Technology Specialist Kevin Dahl and website coordinator Collene Toavs have been invited to participate in an Upper Missouri Information Technology Council meeting in Williston, ND on Jan. 8. The topic of discussion will be Section 508 Website Accessibility. Dahl and Toavs will be presenting information to the council on access issues they faced in bringing the ARS lab into compliance with the new handicap law. Federal agencies have been required to conform to the law since June of 2001, while state agencies are just now coming under the same mandate. The NPARL representatives were invited by council member Julie Palmer (head of IT for Williston Public Schools) to address the group.

(Kevin Dahl, 406.433.9409, kdahl[at]
(Collene Toavs, 406.433.9410, ctoavs[at]

ARS scientists to participate in regional ag forum

Agricultural Engineer and Irrigation Specialist Robert Evans is among the featured speakers at this year’ s MonDak Ag Days to be held Jan. 9-10 in Sidney, MT. Dr. Evans will discuss "Crop Water Management with Sprinkler Irrigation." In addition, NPARL Research Ecologist Greg Sword will participate in a special program at the event for area elementary students. His talk asks the question, "Are Bugs Good or Bad?", and notes that the answer often depends on what a particular insect eats. NPARL will also host an information booth featuring its biological control research on saltcedar, an invasive noxious weed, and Cercosopora, a fungal leaf spot disease of sugar beets, a major irrigated crop in the region. Other topics on the agenda include discussions of COOL (Country of Origin Labeling), an update from Busch Ag on its recently completed malting barley facility, West Nile disease, Farm Service Agency programs, value-added ag products, alternative crops and more.

(Robert Evans, 406.433.9496, revans[at]
(Greg Sword, 406.433.9429, gsword[at]

ARS grasshopper specialist to report on research at national board meeting

Research Entomologist David Branson will be participating in the Annual Grasshopper Management Board Meeting in Denver, CO, Jan 13-14. His talk is entitled "The utility of grazing management systems to reduce grasshopper outbreaks in multiple ecosystems in the Western US." Although unable to attend, Dr. Stefan Jaronski, also of NPARL, will have his research on "Continued Field Evalutions of Canola Oil as an Attractive Carrier for Beauveria bassiana" presented at the meeting by A. V. Chernysh, a co-author on the paper along with Jaronski, S. P. Schell and A. V. Latchininsky. In addition, Jaronski is coauthor on another paper with Nelson Foster, "Evaluation of Beauveria bassiana in Canola Oil and Paraffinic Oil for control of grasshoppers on rangeland." [N. Foster, S. Jaronski, C. Reuter, B. Helbig, J. Bradley and B. Radsick]

(Dave Branson, 406.433.9406, dbranson[at]
(Stefan Jaronski, 406.433.9486, sjaronski[at]

ARS scientist to speak at Montana Weed Control Association meeting

Botanist John Gaskin will be speaking at the 2004 Montana Weed Control Association meeting to be held January 13-15 in Billings, MT. Dr. Gaskin's talk is entitled Genetic similarity of garden and invasive saltcedars. At issue is whether saltcedar invasions in the northwestern U.S. can be attributed in part to escaped garden varieties. Also attending the meeting will be NPARL Biological Science Technician Mary Mayer. In addition, the Sidney ARS lab will have a trade show booth at the event featuring its saltcedar biological control efforts.

(John Gaskin, 406.433.9444, jgaskin[at]

ARS scientist to speak at North Dakota Weed Association Meeting.

Research Entomologist Dave Kazmer has been invited to speak at the North Dakota Weed Control Association’s 21st annual meeting Jan. 13-15 in Minot, ND. Dr. Kazmer's presentation is entitled "Saltcedar DNA Research and Biocontrol" and includes discussion of the different saltcedar genetic varieties invading the Northern Great Plains and initial results of field releases of the first saltcedar biological control agent. In addition to Dr. Kazmer's presentation, NPARL will have an exhibit on its current saltcedar research and, at the request of meeting organizers, will provide participants with brochures highlighting joint research efforts conducted with numerous local, state and federal organizations as a member of the Saltcedar Consortium.

(Dave Kazmer, 406.433.9440, dkazmer[at]

Hiring of soil scientist Dr. Upendra M. Sainju

NPARL is extremely pleased to announce that Dr. Upendra M. Sainju will be joining the ASRU as a soil scientist on March 8, 2004. He will be filling the position previously held by Robert Kolberg in our dryland cropping systems research. Upendra interviewed for the vice-Cochran position, and we are very fortunate that we were able to fill both vacancies out of the same outstanding candidate pool.

Dr. Upendra M. Sainju got his B.S. in agriculture from University of Udaipur, India in 1973, an M.S. in soil science from University of Florida in 1982, and a Ph.D. in soil science from University of Kentucky in 1989.

We are very fortunate to have someone with Upendra's excellent background and experience in cropping systems in this position. He worked as assistant soil scientist and agronomist from 1973 to 1982 in the Department of Agriculture in Nepal, as a Visiting Professor from 1983 to 1989 in Tribhuvan University in Nepal, and as Postdoctoral Research Associate from 1990 to 1991 in Rutgers University in New Jersey, from 1991 to 1995 in Washington State University, and from 1995 to present in Fort Valley State University in Georgia. During his professional career, he authored and co-authored 28 papers in refereed national and international journals, 5 papers in symposium proceedings, and 3 book chapters. He received more than $500,000 grants for research proposals from national and international organizations while working in his post doctorate positions.

Dr. Sainju has broad research experience that includes soil carbon and nitrogen cycling, carbon and nitrogen sequestrations, nutrient management, soil and water qualities, sustainable crop production systems, green manures, rhizosphere dynamics, and various soil and crop management practices. His cropping systems research at NPARL will examine the interaction of tillage and dryland crop management with rotational crop diversity in terms of crop yield and quality, soil water use efficiency, nitrogen use efficiency, and competitiveness with weeds. Dr. Sainju will also be quantifying the effect of selected “ecological” management and cultural practices, crop diversity and increased cropping intensity on the the various interactions within the entire plant community (weeds and crops) and soil ecology. The overall goal of this research is to improve adoption of no-till or minimum tillage systems in the MonDak region.

Dr. Sainju's family will be joining him this summer after school is out. Please join us in welcoming Upendra and his family to NPARL and Sidney.

New weed scientist featured at NPARL Brown Bagger

Dr. Andy Lenssen, a weed ecologist and recent addition to the USDA-ARS Northern Plains Agricultural Research Laboratory’s staff in Sidney, will be giving the third presentation of the lab’s 2003-2004 Brown Bagger series at noon Friday, February 6th. These informal (and informational) presentations on a variety of research related topics are generally held every other Friday at the lab during the winter months. All are open to the public.

Lenssen’s presentation is entitled "Diversified dryland cropping systems in Montana" and will focus on wheat, oilseed, pulse and hay production systems.

Dr. Lenssen came to NPARL from Montana State University in Bozeman where he served as an associate research professor. He brings a wealth of experience in addressing management and production problems associated with various high plains crops, both as a farm manager and as an ag researcher. He has also conducted research in cropping systems at ARS’s Soil and Water Conservation Research Farm at Froid, MT for the past two years.

In his new post, Dr. Lenssen is responsible for helping to develop weed management programs adapted to various crop production systems and investigating the effects of soils and plant diversity on weeds under different tillage regimens. He will also be studying methods to detect and delay weed herbicide resistance.

Research to be featured in future NPARL Brown Baggers include studies in precision irrigation, remote sensing, and weed biocontrol, along with a special presentation Feb. 20th by Ben Larson, Richland County’s new Cooperative Extension Agent on his work in the "Integrated management of Cercospora leaf spot of sugar beet." Dates and specific topics for other sessions will be announced in local papers. All sessions are held at noon in the lab’ s tech transfer room and are open to the public.

The lab is located at 1500 N. Central Avenue in Sidney, MT. If you have any questions, contact Beth Redlin at 406-433-9427.

Wheat Stem Sawfly researcher speaks at wheat workshop

Research Entomologist Thomas Shanower was invited to speak at the inaugural U.S. National Wheat Workers Workshop held in Kansas City, MO, Feb. 23-25. Dr. Shanower’s presentation was entitled "Wheat Stem Sawfly: Status, Biology and Management." In his presentation Dr. Shanower discussed the pest’s status, biology and damage done, as well as various management options being studied, including cultural and biological controls and host plant resistance. The workshop was sponsored by the National Wheat Improvement Committee, Hard Winter Wheat Workers, Spring Wheat Workers, Western Wheat Workers, Eastern Wheat Workers, Southern Wheat Workers and the Nebraska Crop Improvement Association.

(Thomas Shanower, 406.433.9405, tshanower[at]


Last Modified: 11/12/2004