Skip to main content
ARS Home » Plains Area » Sidney, Montana » Northern Plains Agricultural Research Laboratory » Pest Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #368404

Research Project: Ecology and Management of Grasshoppers and Other Rangeland and Crop Insects in the Great Plains

Location: Pest Management Research

Title: Grasshopper populations respond similarly to multiple moderate intensity livestock grazing treatments

item Branson, David - Dave

Submitted to: Journal of Orthoptera Research
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/21/2019
Publication Date: 5/14/2020
Citation: Branson, D.H. 2020. Grasshopper populations respond similarly to multiple moderate intensity livestock grazing treatments. Journal of Orthoptera Research. 29(1):67-69.

Interpretive Summary: Grasshoppers often consume more vegetation than livestock during outbreaks and can compete with livestock. Livestock grazing management can directly or indirectly affect grasshopper populations. In addition, certain moderate intensity livestock grazing systems appear to have potential for use in managing grasshoppers and preventing outbreaks. Until this study no one had examined whether a range of moderate intensity livestock grazing management treatments had similar or differing effects on grasshopper populations and outbreaks. In a study in eastern Montana, grasshopper densities and species composition didn’t differ between five moderate grazing rate treatments that covered a wide range of management approaches. The lack of a strong effect on grasshoppers fits the vegetation results where rangeland was shown to be resistant to moderate levels of livestock grazing. The results of this study conducted during a period of high grasshopper densities, combined with earlier results from researchers at ARS in Sidney Montana indicate that moderate grazing management in the northern Great Plains may not always be an effective grasshopper management tool.

Technical Abstract: Livestock grazing frequently affects grasshopper populations, but no prior studies have simultaneously examined a wide range of moderate intensity livestock grazing treatments in the northern Great Plains. Grasshopper densities varied significantly between years, but five moderate grazing treatments, including both rotational and continuous grazing treatments, did not differentially affect grasshopper densities or species composition. Grasshopper populations appear resilient to different types of moderate grazing at this northern Great Plains mixed-grass prairie site.