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Continued good news shared for grasshopper risk across Nebraska and Wyoming rangelands

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

In a recent University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) Panhandle Research and Extension Center press release, Extension Entomologists Jeff Bradshaw and Bob Wright discussed updates on grasshopper risks on rangeland. 

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal Plant and Health Inspection Service (APHIS), the risk of grasshopper infestation in most Nebraska and Wyoming rangelands will be low in 2022, with slightly higher risk in southwestern Nebraska and central Wyoming, based on fall adult surveys conducted by APHIS, they shared.

As the accompanying map illustrates, a majority of the western U.S. is projected to have low numbers. APHIS continues to provide regular updates on the status of rangeland grasshoppers across the region.

Grasshopper numbers are responsive to environmental conditions; however, species differ in their response to precipitation, plant communities, soil characteristics and microclimate, they explained. 

A wet spring and rains at time of grasshopper hatching and development from mid-May through June improves rangeland forage quality and reduces the loss from grasshopper infestation.

Current long-range weather forecasts through March have indicated normal conditions, which might mean a continuation of cool, dry weather through the end of March. However, conditions beyond March appear to have a high degree of uncertainly at present, the entomologists highlighted.

Spotty occurrences of high grasshopper densities often occur throughout western Nebraska, eastern Wyoming and some parts of central Wyoming even in low-risk years. Therefore, ranchers and range managers should maintain vigilance to monitor grasshopper densities during hatching periods, they concluded.

This article is courtesy of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Panhandle Research and Extension Center.

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