Missing plants could signal early grasshopper feeding

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Grasshoppers are known to be voracious pests that can cause widespread damage, similar to plagues of locusts if not controlled. But is there a way to anticipate an infestation?

Inspired by The Wheat School video featuring an interview with Lyle Jensen of Agro Plus, on identifying and controlling grasshoppers early in the growing season, Peter “Wheat Pete” Johnson stresses the importance of early and frequent scouting for the pest.

Johnson highlights the importance of timing when it comes to scouting for grasshoppers, as the egg hatch is driven by soil temperature. Soil types also play a role, with warmer sandy soils posing a greater risk of an early hatch. Johnson suggested the use of predictive tools similar to those used for monitoring alfalfa weevils, which hatch at a specific number of growing degree days.

Early in the season, there is less above-ground plant material for grasshoppers to feed on, making them more likely to consume entire plants and fields quickly. Later in the season, there is more plant material available, but high grasshopper populations can still cause significant damage. Frequent scouting is critical to ensure you fully understand the population pressure and corresponding feeding.

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