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Issue: March/April 2007
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Northern PlainFacts

Issue: March/April 2007

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:

ARS lab hosts talks on sugarbeet micronutrients, yellow dwarf disease
ARS specialist asked to join RMA irrigation project advisory board
ARS Plant Pathologist participates in biennial sugar meeting
ARS grasshopper, carbon sequestration research featured at area Ag Shows 

ARS grasshopper, carbon sequestration research featured at area Ag Shows.
 NPARL will be participating in two area ag trade shows in the month of March to share research information from the Sidney, MT ARS lab with area producers. First on the agenda is the KUMV Farm & Ranch Show to be held in Williston, ND March 13-14 and the second, the KATQ Farm Expo in Plentywood, MT March 16-17. Carbon sequestration research is featured in this year's outreach effort by the lab's Agricultural Systems Research Unit. That research by ASRU scientists Upendra Sainju, TheCan Caesar, Andrew Lenssen and Robert Evans showed that no till or reduced tillage with continuous cropping can increase carbon sequestration in dryland soils. Featured from the lab's Pest Management Research Unit are several ongoing grasshopper research efforts by Entomologists David Branson and Stefan Jaronski, including studies using grazing and burning to manage populations; using microbial agents to control outbreaks, and even looking at the benefits grasshoppers provide through nutrient recycling. A special feature this year is a slide show presentation on the history of federal grasshopper research beginning with the establishment of the U.S. Entomological Commission in 1877 to the arrival of the ARS Rangeland Insect Laboratory at NPARL from Bozeman, MT in 1997. Technician Laura Senior put together the retrospective using old photographs showing outbreaks and control methods scanned from the original Insect Lab's collection.
(Upendra Sainju, 406.433.9408,
(TheCan Caesar, 406.433.9415,
(Andy Lenssen, 406.433.9471,
(Bob Evans, 406.433.9496,
(David Branson, 406.433.9406,
(Stefan Jaronski, 406.433.9486,
ARS Plant Pathologist participates in biennial sugar meeting.
 NPARL Plant Pathologist Robert Lartey participated in the 2007 Biennial meeting of the American Society of Sugar Beet Technologists in Salt Lake City, March 1-4. Dr. Lartey presented a paper, "Survey of field soils for Cercospora beticola by PCR and ELISA" coauthored with fellow NPARL researchers Microbiologist TheCan Caesar-TonThat, Physcial Scientist Bill Iversen, Technician Sophia Hanson and Agricultural Engineer and irrigation specialist Robert Evans. Dr. Lartey also presented a poster at the meeting entitled "Detection of Cercopsora beticola by PCR in amended and naturally infested field soil," which also featured the same collaborators. Also contributing a research poster to the meeting was NPARL Entomologist Stefan Jaronski, whose topic included "In vitro compatibility between three bacterial sugarbeet disease control agents and the entomopathogenic fungi, Metarhizium anisopliae and Beauveria bassiana." Collaborators on that project included former NPARL Post Doc Cindy Fuller-Schaefer, Richland County (MT) Extension Agent Ben Larson and Montana State University Plant Pathology Professor Barry Jacobsen. Dr. Lartey is a member of NPARL's Agricultural Systems Research Unit, while Dr. Jaronski is a member of the lab's Pest Management Research Unit.   
(Robert Lartey, 406.433-9490,
(TheCan Caesar, 406.433.9415,
(Bill Iversen, 406.433.9417,

(Bob Evans, 406.433.9496,
(Stefan Jaronski, 406.433.9486,

ARS specialist asked to join RMA irrigation project advisory board.
NPARL Agricultural Engineer and irrigation specialist Dr. Robert Evans accepted an invitation join an advisory board for an applied research project developing web-based tools for irrigation management under conditions of limited water. The project, funded by USDA's Risk Management Agency, is entitled "Analysis of Risk Management Strategies for Irrigation During Periods of Water Shortage" and is being conducted by researchers at Oregon State University. The 11-member advisory board met March 1-3 in San Francisco to critically review the initial project approach, and will continue to meet annually during the life of the project to review plans and progress.  
(Bob Evans, 406.433.9496,  
ARS lab hosts talks on sugarbeet micronutrients, yellow dwarf disease.
 NPARL hosted two university researchers this past week as part of its annual winter "Brown Bagger" speaker series. First to speak on Feb. 28 was Dr. Laura Overstreet, associate professor of soil science at North Dakota State University in Fargo, ND. She discussed "Potassium, Sulfur, and Micronutrient Fertility in Dryland Sugarbeet Production Systems." She was followed by Dr. Mary Burrows, an Extension Plant Pathologist with Montana State University in Bozeman, whose March 2 presentation was entitled "The genetic control of Luteovirus transmission by the aphid Schizaphis graminium" and discussed the transmission of yellow dwarf disease, an insect borne virus, to barley and cereal crops by the "greenbug" aphid. This is the fifth year of NPARL's informal lecture series on research and agriculture-related topics. Other topics still to come in 2007 include presentations on carbon and nitrogen sequestration; biofuels and animal ID technology.  
(Beth Redlin, 406.433.9427,