|Issue: July/August 2005|
Current Issue: July/August 2005
In This Month's Issue:
ARS reps speak at MSU Research Center FieldDay
NPARL Botanist John Gaskin has been invited to give a talk to the Conservation Genetics Program at the University of Idaho, Moscow on August 31. His presentation is entitled "Genetic studies applied toward the control of plant invasions: from family to population level." Dr. Gaskin is a member of NPARL's Pest Management Research Unit and works with the biological control of noxious weeds.
(John Gaskin, 406.433.9444, jgaskin[at]sidney.ars.usda.gov)
NPARL Soil Scientist Upendra Sainju will present a paper at the Third International Conference on Sustainable Agriculture for Food, Energy and Industry to be held August 22-27 in St. Catharine's, Canada. The conference will focus on the issues: Security, Safety, Frugality, and Conservation. Dr. Sainju's paper is entitled "Tillage, crop rotations, and cultural practices effects on dryland soil and crop residue carbon and nitrogen," and is coauthored with fellow NPARL Agricultural Systems Research Unit scientists Andy Lenssen, Robert Evans, TheCan Caesar and Jed Waddell. The paper, to be published in the conference proceedings, discusses research by the unit on dryland soil and crop management practices that conserve soil organic matter, improve soil quality and productivity, and sustain crop yields in the northern Great Plains. The purpose of the Sustainable Agriculture Conference is to provide an international forum for scientists and researchers to exchange information and achievements, to ascertain the challenges of the future, and to offer ideas for agricultural practices "...that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs."
(Upendra Sainju, 406.433.9408, usainju[at]sidney.ars.usda.gov)
NPARL Research Ecologist Greg Sword and Research Entomologist David Branson have both been invited to present papers at the Ninth International Conference of the Orthopterists' Society in Canmore, Alberta, Canada, Aug. 14-19. The conferences theme is "Integrative Biology in Orthopteran Research." Dr. Sword serves as the organization's executive director, and will be giving welcoming remarks as well as co-chairing a plenary symposium on "Advances and Controversies in Phase Polyphenism Research" highlighting ongoing research into the physiology, ecology and evolution of locust phase change. Dr. Sword will also present a paper entitled "Genotype versus environment in locust swarm formation: How important is phase polyphenism?" and a poster on "Host plant-associated genetic differentiation in the snakeweed grasshopper, Hesperotettix viridis (Acrididae: Melanoplinae). The poster was co-authored with Dr. Tony Joern of Kansas State University and NPARL technician Laura Senior. Sword is also presenting a second poster entitled "Using radiotelemetry to analyze Mormon cricket migration," coauthored with Dr. Patrick Lorch of Kent State University and Darryl Gwynne of the University of Toronto at Mississauga, Mississauga, ON, Canada. NPARL's Dr. David Branson was also invited to present a paper to a plenary symposium. His presentation is entitled "Ecological research as a needed driver for preventative management of Acridids," and discusses ecologically-based habitat management approaches to grasshopper outbreak prevention as well as illustrating why more research on underlying ecological mechanisms is needed to further develop the technology. Both Drs. Sword and Branson are members of NPARL's Pest Management Research Unit.
(Dave Branson, 406.433.9406, dbranson[at]sidney.ars.usda.gov)
NPARL Plant Pathologist Anthony Caesar participated in the 90th Annual Meeting of the Ecological Society of America (ESA) and IX INTECOL International Congress of Ecology August 7-12 in Montr?al, Canada. At the meeting, Dr. Caesar presented a poster entitled "Nearest neighbor analysis of the effects of the rust fungus Uromyces scutellatus on Euphorbia spp. in Europe." The joint meeting of the two organizations featured dozens of oral presentations, workshops, special session and 24 symposia presenting and evaluating ecological information at multiple scales (spatial, temporal and biological) and especially focusing on and incubating cross-scale linkages. Dr. Caesar is a member of NPARL's Pest Management Research Unit.
(Anthony Caesar, 406.433.9412, caesara[at]sidney.ars.usda.gov)
NPARL Research Entomologist Stefan Jaronski presented three posters on NPARL research projects in the biological control of sugar beet root maggot at the 38th Annual Meeting of the Society for Invertebrate Pathology held in Anchorage AK, 7-11 August. The posters include: 1) "Metarhizium anisopliae for biocontrol of sugarbeet root maggot: constraints and challenges" by Dr. Jaronski, and NPARL technicians Julie Grace and Rob Schlothauer; 2) "Observations on the interaction between biocontrol fungi, Metarhizium and Beauveria, and bacteria isolated from the rhizosphere of sugar beets, " by visiting scientist Dr. Kerstin Jung, Post Doctoral Research Associate Cindy Fuller-Schaefer and Dr. Jaronski, and "Colonization of sugarbeet roots by entomopathogenic fungi," also by Drs. Fuller-Schaefer, Jung, and Jaronski. All NPARL representatives are with the Sidney, MT lab's Pest Management Research Unit.
(Cindy fuller-Schaefer, 406.433.9439, cfuller[at]sidney.ars.usda.gov)
ARS scientists, technicians, and summer personnel will be at NPARL's annual booth at the Richland County Fair & Rodeo from noon to 9 P.M. on August 3-6. The booth will feature information on three different areas of research being conducted at NPARL. From the Pest Management Unit there will be information on Dr. Greg Sword's research involving the use of radio transmitters to track Mormon Crickets. The second and third areas of focus are from the Agricultural Systems Research Unit with one being Dr. TheCan Caesar-TonThat's research on soil aggregating bacteria and the other is Dr. Jay Jabro and Dr. Upendra Sainju's involvement with soil horizons and the physical properties of soil from color and texture to moisture content.
(TheCan Caesar-TonThat, 406.433.9415, caesart[at]sidney.ars.usda.gov)
(Jay Jabro, 406.433.9442, jjabro[at]sidney.ars.usda.gov)
(Upendra Sainju, 406.433.9408, usainju[at]sidney.ars.usda.gov)
(Greg Sword, 406.433.9429, gsword[at]sidney.ars.usda.gov)
ARS Post Doctoral Research Associate, Tracey Slotta, from the Red River Valley Agricultural Research Center in Fargo, North Dakota, is collecting samples throughout North Eastern Montana on Wednesday, August 3. While in the area, Slotta will be stopping at NPARL to give a talk at 10 A.M. in the Tech Transfer Room on the "Genetics of Canada Thistle." Canada Thistle is an aggressive weed that infests crops, pastures, rangeland, and roadsides and is a problem in 30 U.S. states and much of Canada. It is difficult to manage and requires multiple control methods, because of its extensive root system. Slotta and others have been researching population genetics of Canada Thistle since roughly August 2004. It is a new program at the Red River Valley Ag Research Center and the focus is to determine if biological control methods can be used safely without harming native and endangered thistles.
NPARL is once again participated in the Annual MonDak Ag Open, Aug. 2-4. The annual three-day event, now in its eighth year, brings together agricultural industry representatives including food processors, researchers, growers and financiers from across the nation to tour ag operations and facilities in the eastern Montana and western North Dakota region known as the "MonDak." This year's event featured a Lewis and Clark theme and included six different tours showcasing the agricultural potential of the region and highlighting opportunities for growth and development through expanded irrigation and production of value added and high value crops. The Sidney, MT ARS lab was part of the "South Tour." Research Leader Dr. Robert Evans of NPARL's Agricultural Systems Research Unit discussed the work conducted at the Sidney lab and how that effort further solidifies ARS's contributions to the MonDak "research triangle" featuring NPARL, Montana State University's Eastern Agricultural Research Center in Sidney, MT and North Dakota State University's Williston Research Extension Center. Nearly 300 people participate in the MonDak Ag Open event each year, including more than 200 invited guests.
A front page article in the July 31st edition of the Billings (MT) Gazette included comments from NPARL Health and Safety officer Jackie Couture on the successful community-wide "e-cycling" effort she coordinated at the Sidney, MT ARS lab last June. The Gazette article, "Digital Discards," discussed the hazards posed by the ever increasing loads of obsolete electronic equipment finding their way into state landfills. In addition to hazardous materials such as lead and mercury commonly found in e-waste items, their sheer volume is expected to significantly impact landfill longevity in the future. Sidney and Bozeman are the only two Montana communities to host e-cycling efforts to date, but those efforts have sparked increased interest with Billings city officials hoping to host their own event next year. Although small in scope - Sidney, MT has a population of less than 5,000 people - the Sidney effort initiated by ARS had a big impact particularly after earlier publicity attracted the interest of state and even regional waste/recycling officials. Since then, the Sidney "E-rase your E-waste" effort has prompted the Montana Department of Environmental Quality to streamline its permitting procedure for community-sponsored e-cycling events, and regional EPA officials are sharing details of the project with other communities across their region. More information on the project, which collected 4.2 tons of e-waste, can be found at http://www.sidney.ars.usda.gov/ewaste.html along with tip sheets and templates available for download by anyone interested in hosting their own event.
(Jackie Couture, 406.433.9422, jcouture[at]sidney.ars.usda.gov)
On July 25-26, NPARL will host Dr. Graham Harris, senior development extension officer (irrigation) for the Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries in Queensland, Australia. Dr. Harris is the recipient of the 2004 Swire Group Churchill Fellowship, which provides him the opportunity to examine current international research and commercial use of precision irrigation practices in cotton and broadacre crops aimed at improving water use efficiency and minimizing environmental impact. During his visit to the Sidney, MT ARS laboratory, he will meet with Dr. Robert Evans, head of the lab's Agricultural Systems Research Unit, and other NPARL irrigation scientists to discuss research being conducted on the precision application of agrochemicals through irrigation systems. While at NPARL he will also meet with local irrigation project officials. In addition to his visit to Montana, Dr. Harris plans several stops at other research and commercial sites in the U.S. and Israel.
(Robert Evans, 406.433.9496, revans[at]sidney.ars.usda.gov)
Members of the ND Water Users Association will tour the Northern Plains Agricultural Research Laboratory in Sidney, MT, July 21-22 as part of a seasonal tour in conjunction with the Missouri Slope Irrigation District of Bismarck, ND. Members will tour NPARL's new lab office complex as well as visit ARS and North Dakota State University irrigation research plots at the university's Nesson Valley research site. There, Dr. Robert Evans, an agricultural engineer and Research Leader of NPARL's Agricultural System's Research Unit, will discuss his unit's irrigation research program and specific ARS research being conducted at the Nesson Valley site, including precision irrigation studies.
(Robert Evans, 406.433.9496, revans[at]sidney.ars.usda.gov)
NPARL researchers, Jed Waddell, Bart Stevens and Bill Iversen spoke at the 25th annual Field Day of Montana State University's Eastern Agricultural Research Center (EARC) in Sidney, MT, July 19. They joined speakers from EARC, MSU, Sidney Sugars, Inc, Busch Agricultural Resources, Inc. and Specialty Export Productions, Inc. for the half-day event which attracted about 100 participants. Dr. Wadell, an ARS soil scientist, led off the tour with his discussion of "Malt Barley Nitrogen Management," while ARS Agronomist Bart Stevens and Physical Scientist Bill Iversen rounded out the day's offerings with discussions of irrigation research at the new MonDak Irrigation Research and Development Project in Nesson Valley and precision irrigation research and management of sugarbeets and malt barley, including strip till beet production. The Nesson Valley project, located 23 miles northeast of Williston, ND, includes North Dakota State University, ARS and MSU research efforts. The three ARS researchers are all members of NPARL's Agricultural Systems Research Unit.
(Bill Iversen, 406.433.9417, biversen[at]sidney.ars.usda.gov)
NPARL Plant Pathologist Robert T. Lartey has been invited to give a presentation at the XII International Congress on Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions in Cancun, M?xico July 17-22. The biennial congress is sponsored being organized by the International Society for Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions (IS-MPMI). The five-day conference will feature seven Plenary symposia as well as 18 concurrent sessions and mini-symposia on topics ranging from interactions between plants and fungi to innate immune response in plants. Dr. Lartey's presentation is entitled "A light and scanning electron microscopic study of progression of Cercospora beticola infection in sugar beet and safflower." He is the first scientist to establish that safflower is an alternate host for Cercospora beticola, the causal agent of Cercospora leaf spot of sugar beet. Dr. Lartey is a member of NPARL's Agricultural Systems Research Unit.
(Robert T. Lartey, 406.433.9490, rlartey[at]sidney.ars.usda.gov)
NPARL Biological Science Technician Kimberly Mann conducted a "Noxious Weed Identification" workshop using live plants as part of a regional Noxious Weed Workshop held in Plentywood, MT, July 12. The event also included discussion on pesticide laws and safety; West Nile virus, sprayer calibration, meth labs, available biocontrol agents and their use, and the biology, growth habits and control methods for baby's breath, a new noxious weed in the area. Mann is a member of NPARL's Pest Management Research Unit.
(Kim Mann, 406.433.9428, kmann[at]sidney.ars.usda.gov)
NPARL Soil Scientist Jed Waddell will escort members of the American Malting Barley Association, Inc. (AMBA) in a tour of ARS malting barley research plots July 12 at the Sidney, Montana Agricultural Research Service laboratory. Dr. Waddell is studying the effects of nitrogen fertilizer on the growth, yield, and quality of irrigated, six-row malting barley. He is a member of NPARL's Agricultural Systems Research Unit. The AMBA's 2005 Industry Barley Tour will also visit Montana State University's Eastern Agricultural Research Center in Sidney along with other university research facilities in Williston, Dickinson and Minot, ND. The AMBA is a non-profit trade association formed in 1982 to help ensure an adequate supply of high quality malting barley for the malting and brewing industry. Member businesses include Anheuser-Busch, Inc., Briess Malt & Ingredients Co., Cargill Malt, IMC - United States, The Gambrinus Company, GModelo Agriculture Inc., Miller Brewing Co., Rahr Malting Co., Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., and Summit Brewing Company. AMBA funded research in western states is aimed at development of improved malting two-row and six-row varieties to provide producers an alternative crop to existing feed barley acreage. The eastern Montana and western North Dakota region is attractive for malting barley development because its ample water resources and semi arid climate aid quality and its cooperative research efforts between federal and state agencies can address other stumbling blocks to good returns.
(Jed Waddell, 406.433.9402, jwaddell[at]sidney.ars.usda.gov)
NPARL and Montana State University's Eastern Agricultural Research Center co- hosted the Montana Wheat and Barley Committee's Summer Board of Directors meeting at the Sidney ARS laboratory July 7-8. The Montana Wheat and Barley Committee (MW & BC) is the producer-funded and directed checkoff organization for wheat and barley growers in the state of Montana. The MW & BC is attached to the Montana Department of Agriculture for administrative purposes and the legislature appropriates dollars budgeted by the committee directors to fund foreign and domestic marketing development and research programs. Following their business meeting, the group toured both the MSU and ARS facilities at Sidney. Among those participating in the meeting and tours was Nancy Peterson, director of the Montana Department of Agriculture and an ex-officio member of the MW& BC.
NPARL Research Entomologist Stefan Jaronski, an expert in insect pathology, has been asked to aid in the planning and implementation of field trials of the mycoinsecticide Green Muscle (Metarhizium anisopliae) against desert locusts and grasshoppers in Senegal, Africa. The Integrated Pest Management Collaborative Research Support Program, acting on a request from the U.S. Agency for International Development and USDA Foreign Agricultural Service, is conducting the tests in part to promote environmentally friendly biopesticide alternatives to large-scale, synthetic chemical control. Dr. Jaronski will travel to Dakar, Senegal, in late July and again in August, where he will aid in training field personnel, oversee the field application of the biopesticide materials and advise on concurrent nontarget ecotoxicology studies of biopesticide impacts. Dr. Jaronski is a member of NPARL's Pest Management Research Unit.
(Stefan Jaronski, 406.433.9486, sjaronski[at]sidney.ars.usda.gov)