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Issue: November/December 2000
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Northern PlainFacts.Northern PlainFacts image extension.

Issue: November/December 2000

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:


Upcoming Events

New Agricultural Systems Research Leader

Grasshopper Research PlanningMeeting

Crop, Soil Research Presented at AnnualMeeting

Innovative Insect Control for theGreenhouse

TEAM Leafy Spurge Outreach inWyoming






NPARL scientists are participating in a number of outreach events in January and February. Included below is a list of those events, their dates and locations.

North Dakota Weed Control Association Meeting

Tuesday, January 9-11, 2001

Radisson Inn

Bismarck, North Dakota


Marketplace of Ideas

Thursday, January 11, 2001

Co-op Night, Wednesday, January 10

Bismarck Civic Center and Exhibition Hall

Bismarck, North Dakota


MonDak Ag Days

Friday and Saturday, January 12-13, 2001

St. Matthew's Center

Sidney, Montana


Montana Weed Control Association Meeting

Tuesday -Thursday, January 16-18, 2001

Holiday Inn

Billings, Montana


Hard Red Spring Wheat Show

Tuesday-Thursday, February 6-8, 2001

Airport International Inn

Williston, North Dakota


MATE (Montana Agricultural Trade Show and Exhibition)

Thursday-Saturday, February 15-17, 2001

Montana Pavilion Metrapark

Billings, Montana


NPARL welcomes agricultural engineer Dr. Robert Evans as the new head of the lab's Agricultural Systems Research Unit. Dr. Evans took over his new duties January 2. He comes to Sidney from Prosser, Washington where he has served as an agricultural engineer with the Irrigated Agriculture Research and Extension Center at Washington State University since 1980. His internationally recognized research there focused on agricultural hydrology and agrometeorology issues addressing these areas: 1) water conservation and improved on-farm irrigation water management and water quality: 2) ecologically-based systems approaches to chemical and irrigation management strategies with emphasis on various precision agricultural technologies. Dr. Evans expects to bring those same skills to his work at NPARL, where he will focus on development of irrigated agricultural systems with water use efficiencies and low environmental impact. The MonDak area is one of the last regions in the country to be developed for irrigation, Evans said, meaning any new development here has to be "done better" than anywhere else. Water quality, competing demand, and environmental concerns, including endangered species laws, are all issues that must be addressed today when developing or expanding irrigation systems. As part of his research, Evans will also study the development of precision irrigation systems, which would ultimately allow growers to vary their water application according to need within discrete areas of each field. Evans holds a B.S. in Agricultural Engineering, an M.S. in Civil Engineering, and a Ph.D. in Agricultural Engineering, all from Colorado State University. He is a member of the American Society of Agricultural Engineers, the American Society of Civil Engineers, Alpha Epsilon and Sigma Xi.

(Robert Evans, 406-433-9496; revans[at]


On November 1-2, scientists concerned with grasshopper control convened in Sidney, MT to help focus research efforts in coming years. This NPARL sponsored planning meeting provided a means for sharing perspectives on grasshopper management. Participants offering non-ARS views included Dave Nelson (North Dakota Department of Agriculture, National Grasshopper Management Board), Ron Flakus (South Dakota Department of Agriculture, National Grasshopper Management Board) and Dr. Anthony Joern (University of Nebraska, Department of Biological Sciences). Dr. Jerome Onsager (USDA/ARS, retired) opened the meeting with an historical overview of efforts in grasshopper research and control. NPARL scientists presenting research plans at the meeting included Drs. David Branson, Stefan Jaronski and Gregory Sword (Sidney, MT) as well as Drs. Sultan Begna and Dennis Fielding (Fairbanks, AK). Topics identified as research needs were numerous. They included: feeding preferences and/or phagostimulants of various grasshoppers species; development of more effective grasshopper baits; grazing systems and the impact on grasshopper mortality factors; migration/dispersal behavior; assessing agents and levels of natural control; determining the impact of different management strategies on the conservation of biological control agents; modeling tri-trophic level interactions within grasshopper communities; and enhancing the efficacy of commercially available biocontol products.

(Sultan Begna, 907-474-7628, ffshb[at]

(Dave Branson, 406-433-9406, dbranson[at]

(Dennis Fielding, 907-474-2439, ffdjf1[at]

(Stefan Jaronski, 406-433-9486, sjaronski[at]

(Greg Sword, 406-433-9429, gsword[at]


Soil Scientist Verlan Cochran, Agronomist Dr. Robert Kolberg and Microbiologist Dr. TheCan Caesar presented several papers at the combined annual meeting of the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America and the Soil Sciences of America held in Minneapolis, MN during November. Two of these papers were jointly authored by Kolberg and Cochran: "Integrating alternative crops into no-till dryland rotations in the Northern Great Plains: Plant production comparisons with small grains" and "The effect of integrating alternative crops into no-till dryland systems on soil C and N and water use." An additional paper on the "Effects of tillage and cropping intensity on soil quality in the semi-arid Northern Great Plains" was co-authored by all three researchers. A fourth entitled "Generation of antibodies for soil-aggregating basidiomycete detection as an early indicator of soil quality" was co-authored by Caesar and Cochran in conjunction with Chemist W.L. Shelver (USDA-ARS, Fargo, ND) and University of Wyoming scientist R.G. Thorn.

(Verlan Cochran, 406-433-9402, vcochran[at]

(Robert Kolberg, 406-433-9408, rkolberg[at]

(TheCan Caesar, 406-433-9415, caesart[at]


On November 6, Research Insect Pathologist Dr. Stefan T. Jaronski gave a presentation to the Gallatin Gardeners in Bozeman, MT regarding recent advances in insect control for the greenhouse environment. These new tools for greenhouse growers rely on fungi and nematodes rather than insecticides. Over the past few years, several fungus-based and nematode-based products have entered the commercial scene. The 25+ members of the audience were highly interested in the new methodologies and considerable discussion ensued. Prior to joining ARS this year, Dr. Jaronski was involved in the commercialization of one of the fungal products.

(Stefan Jaronski, 406-433-9486, sjaronski[at]


On November 15, TEAM Leafy Spurge coordinator Chad Prosser spoke at the 56th Annual Wyoming Weed & Pest Conference & Business Meeting in Casper, Wyoming. Prosser gave a presentation to more than 130 Wyoming weed and pest officers on the overall program as well as new advances regarding biological control of leafy spurge. TEAM Leafy Spurge also distributed a significant quantity of printed materials on leafy spurge and integrated pest management (IPM) to the weed inspectors, supervisors and other interested persons in attendance. Prosser took this opportunity to network with Wyoming weed control officers and weed board members, as well as personnel from the Wyoming Department of Agriculture and the University of Wyoming. TEAM Leafy Spurge, a five-year IPM research and demonstration program funded by ARS, is committed to collaboration in order to achieve the ultimate objective of controlling leafy spurge in North America.

(Chad Prosser, 406-433-9403, cprosser[at]


Last Modified: 8/13/2016
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