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HomeCanadaFarmers on the Prairie Face Double Trouble: Drought and Menacing Grasshoppers

Farmers on the Prairie Face Double Trouble: Drought and Menacing Grasshoppers


Growers in parts of southern Saskatchewan are already battling drought this summer. Now grasshoppers can once again be added to the list of problems.

The situation is so dire south of Saskatoon that the Dundurn RM has declared an agricultural disaster.

“On the cattle side, we had to get through our pasture much faster than we normally would. And some things that we were trying to save, grasshoppers moved in and cleaned them up before I could take cattle,” Ben Wilson, area rancher and deputy sheriff, told CBC Radio. The afternoon edition last week.

An assessment of AgriRecovery by the provincial and federal governments is currently underway to see how they can financially help growers affected by drought damage and subsequent grasshopper infestations.

Dan Johnson, a professor of environmental science at the University of Lethbridge who has long studied grasshoppers, said hot, dry weather is the biggest factor.

He said it’s too late in the season for moisture to kill them off this year.

“The tiny ones that are born and are very small at first can’t take it physically, so they don’t grow and can be attacked by diseases. But once they get to the stage they are at now, they have a waxy coating, they can curl up in the grass and wait out the rain,” he told the CBC Radio show. saskatoon morning.

From July 4-10, crop damage in west-central Saskatchewan, which includes the Dundurn MR, was caused by dry, hot weather, which are favorable conditions for grasshoppers, according to the latest provincial crop report. (Trevor Bothorel/CBC)

Johnson’s advice to growers is to keep an eye on where the insects are laying eggs in August and September.

“Then they can know where to look in the spring for hatching. The information in the spring is really important, because if they have a very long hatch, that can be a problem,” he said.

provincial this year grasshopper forecast showed an increase in numbers from last year, with the end of the long, dry and hot summer and autumn in many parts of the province providing good egg-laying conditions.

Crops in the central-southern, southwestern and southeastern regions have been among the most affected. Only 10 of 1,134 sites in Saskatchewan did not report grasshoppers, the report shows.

The latest crop report

Thursday crop report indicates that most of the damage in the past week has come from dry conditions and grasshoppers.

However, the warm weather has helped fields to flourish in most parts of the province.

The heat allowed the hay to progress rapidly, with only 13 percent of the first cut still standing and 71 percent baled or silage. The report says the quality of the hay ranges from fair to excellent, with most qualifying as “good.”

Pockets of moisture helped increase soil moisture levels in many areas, but “dry conditions in the southwestern and central-western regions were not mitigated by small amounts of moisture or localized thunderstorms,” ​​the report said.

The province reminds growers, especially those dealing with dry conditions, that the Agricultural Stress Line is available to provide support toll-free at 1-800-667-4442.

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