|Issue: January/February 2001|
Issue: January/February 2001
Editor's Note: The following report pertains to a questionnaire sent to all our Northern PlainFacts e-mail subscribers.
With this e-mail, Northern PlainFacts marks its first year of service to our readers. While we hope our initial efforts have been of interest to you, we also want to make future offerings even better. However, we need your help to do so. As a subscriber, you will shortly be receiving a brief questionnaire designed to gather your views on ways to improve the PlainFacts. All replies will, of course, be kept confidential. Again, thanks for your interest this past year and for your anticipated participation in our upcoming effort to make the Northern PlainFacts even more useful to you in the future.
Drs. David Branson and Gregory Sword attended the National Grasshopper Management Board (NGMB) annual meeting, January 17-18, in Denver, CO. Branson presented a talk on the impacts of grazing management on grasshoppers, addressing the use of specific grazing strategies to prevent grasshopper outbreaks. His presentation also highlighted the research programs of recently hired NPARL grasshopper personnel. In recognition of his service to the NGMB, Branson was re-elected as a member of the board's executive committee. The NGMB facilitates communication among various federal, state, local, and private parties with interests in grasshopper management on both public and private lands. Agenda items for this year's meeting included grasshopper management strategy updates, environmental concerns, industry updates, and future research directions.
Research insect pathologist Dr. Stefan Jaronski is engaged in a study of the fungus that causes summit disease of grasshoppers, hoping ultimately to harness the fungus for biological control of grasshoppers on rangeland. Grasshoppers killed by the fungus may be found firmly attached to the tops of grass or other vegetation. If you have seen any such grasshoppers during the past two years, please contact Jaronski so he can return to the area and make collections. At right is a photograph of a grasshopper killed by summit disease for you to use as a reference . If you find anything similar, you can reach Jaronski by calling 406-433-9486 or 406-433-2020; faxing 406-433-5038; or writing to USDA/ARS, Box 463, Sidney, MT 59270.
Dr. Sultan Begna recently joined NPARL at its Fairbanks, Alaska location as Research Associate. Begna obtained his Ph.D. at McGill University, Montreal, Canada in 1999. His graduate work targeted the agronomic and physiological aspects of competition for light between various corn hybrids, including the newly developed hybrid strain known as "leafy reduced-stature" (LRS). Begna found that some LRS hybrids showed more leaf area production (above the ear in particular) and attained canopy closure quicker than conventional hybrids. Faster canopy closure contributes to greater success in competition with weeds. In Alaska, Dr. Begna plans to focus his research on the responses of small grains and forages to biotic stresses (such as insect pests, particularly grasshoppers, as well as black grass bugs, plant diseases, and weeds) and abiotic stresses (such as moisture and temperature).
Ernest "Del" Delfosse arrived in Sidney during January to serve as Acting Laboratory Director until a permanent replacement for former Lab Director Neal Spencer has been found. Neal Spencer left NPARL to accept a position with USDA-ARS in Ithaca, NY. Delfosse will return to his position as National Program Leader for Weed Science, based in Beltsville, MD, once his interim responsibilities in Sidney have been completed. Delfosse encourages input from the community and will work to ensure NPARL's programs meet the needs of its customers.
Representatives from NPARL were among the more than 230 exhibitors participating in the Montana Agri-Trade Exposition in Billings, MT, Feb. 15-17. The outreach effort focused on three ongoing research components at the Sidney laboratory, including programs in precision agriculture, grasshopper management, and leafy spurge control. In addition the display included information on NPARL's new lab/office construction effort, as well as materials on other research programs being conducted at the site. NPARL entomologist Dr. Thomas Shanower, GIS and Precision Ag science technician Bill Iversen, and TEAM Leafy Spurge information specialists Steve Merritt and Beth Redlin represented NPARL at the event, one of the largest of its kind in the Rocky Mountain West. In addition to MATE, NPARL representatives recently participated in other ag outreach events in North Dakota (North Dakota Weed Control Assn. Meeting, Bismarck, Jan. 9-11; Marketplace of Ideas, Bismarck, Jan. 10-11) and in Montana (MonDak Ag Days, Sidney, Jan. 12-13; Montana Weed Control Assn. Meeting, Billings, Jan. 16-18.)