Grass Squirming? Grasshoppers are Hatching!


While some areas of our region are yet to see the full-blown grasshopper hatch, a number of pastures are squirming with the insects.  2010 saw a tremendous amount of economic devastation linked to hoppers and expectations were that 2011 was going to be even worse.  The graph below depicts where the 2011 outbreaks are expected and is based on a survey of adult grasshoppers in 2010.

While folks knew that this year could be bad, there was a glimmer of hope that the cool, wet spring was going to kill some of the insects off. 

However, in talking with Dave Branson with the USDA Animal Research Service in Sidney, it seems that it only set them back slightly.

Dave says that the absolute economic impact this year will likely be less than last year because there is a lot more grass to go around.  The grass is also lower protein which will keep the insects smaller longer.  Basically put, the smaller the grasshopper, the less it eats.

Saying that – do you know how many pounds of grasshopper you’re feeding?

As far as treatment, Dave says that it is optimal to treat while the grasshoppers are between ¼ to ½ inch long.

While the late hatch will hopefully mean a bit of a reprieve for next year, it all depends on what happens this fall.

Dave explains what factors will play into next year’s hoppers.

For more information on grasshoppers, including a discussion of treatment options, visit this USDA ARS website.


© Northern Ag Network

Haylie Shipp


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