Justin McDaniel OSU Extension Educator
The Pontotoc Co. Cattlemen’s Association will be hosting its annual Pasture Tour on June 22, 2013, at Kelly Hunt’s ranch, northwest of Ada, where Kelly has graciously offered to give us a tour of his operation.
Kelly has a very diversified operation that offers many things to discuss. He manages pastures for cattle by utilizing optimal grass production. The Pasture Tour will begin at the Hunt Ranch headquarters at 9 a.m. on June 22.
From Ada: Travel west on State Highway 3w approximately 10 miles until you get to CR 3450 (road to Garr Corner). Turn south and go approximately 1/2 mile to tour location on the west side of 3450. Tan barns that say Hunt Farms. (Road is closed past there going south for repair.)
A free hamburger lunch at noon will be provided by Kelly & Farm Credit of Central Oklahoma. Please RSVP by calling 580-332-2153 to assist with a meal count.
This is an opportunity to get some first-class information from a family who has been very successful in the cattle industry. This meeting is open to anyone interested in attending, so make sure that you invite all of your friends and neighbors.
Coming to a Pasture Near You
It’s official, summer has begun and the mercury keeps climbing. However, it seems like the grasshoppers are already in full force and developmentally well ahead of normal. In early May I began noticing nymphs (immature hoppers) in forage fields and have been seeing mature 1.5-inch hoppers routinely this past week. During average years, grasshoppers rarely populate to an extent that causes significant damage on forage. But, as we all know, that “average year” in Oklahoma is ever elusive. With reports coming in across the county of large populations of near-mature grasshoppers, it is time we address the situation.
Most reports of grasshopper populations and damage are due to the differential grasshopper, Melanoplus differentialis. These hoppers are brown to olive green and yellow with chevron-shaped black markings on the hind legs. They reach lengths up to 1.75 inches long at maturity after growing through 5-6 stages (instars). Grasshoppers cause the majority of damage once they reach the adult stage.
Adults select grassy fencerows, roadsides and pastures to lay their eggs before winter arrives. They will deposit these eggs in 1-inch-long packets 0.5 to 2 inches deep in the soil or in sod clumps. Typically, this is how the grasshopper overwinters (as an egg), but in mild winters, adults can survive until the following year. The following spring through summer, tiny nymphs hatch in these grassy areas and begin the cycle again. But in order to mature through the instars in 40 to 60 days and reproduce, they must find food ... and this brings us back to our current problem. Adults will feed readily on desirable forage species, corn, soybeans, sometimes weeds and many other plant species, potentially causing economic damage.
Control methods rely on good management and scouting. If you have grassy ditches, fence-rows, etc. watch them closely early in the year. If you are seeing large populations of nymphs, this is likely a nursery area where eggs are laid and hatched. This area can be treated to control the young hoppers. It is important to note that with any chemical method, young grasshoppers are much easier to control than mature hoppers! Additionally, if you routinely have trouble with grasshoppers, develop a strategy to break their cycle; find the nurseries and treat the area.
Typically, to ensure minimal damage on forage resources, young grasshoppers should be treated before early July. It seems that time frame might be 3-4 weeks late this year, however, due to the early development of adult hoppers. When is treatment warranted in a forage setting? If grasshoppers are robbing the forage or hay, you need to get your herd through the winter, then treatment should be considered. The real question becomes, can you apply insecticide for less money than what the lost forage would be worth? If hay tops $75.00 per bale again this year, the answer might be yes.
Actual thresholds for treating grasshopper infestations in pasture are higher than what you might think. For small grasshoppers (0.5 inch), treat when populations are 24-100 per square yard. For adult hoppers, treat at populations of 8-40 per square yard. Walk randomly through the field to determine if they are concentrated in certain areas, whereby reducing insecticide needed.
Common chemical controls include:
0.5-1.0 lb./acre for small grasshoppers, 1.25-1.875 lbs./acre for adults.
14-day pre-harvest interval (PHI) for grazing or haying
1.5-2 pts./acre (0.75 – 1.25 lbs./acre)
0 day PHI for grazing or haying
2 fl. oz./acre (0.0075 – 0.0156 lbs./acre) at 2nd to 3rd instar (0.5 inch or less)
0 day PHI for grazing or haying
Lambda cyhalothrin (Warrior, Karate)- Restricted Use:
2.56- 3.54 oz./acre (0.2-0.3 lb. ai/acre)
0 day PHI for grazing, 7 day PHI for hay
Producers should consider withdrawal times and chemical cost before deciding on an active ingredient. If they have a private applicator license, many of the lambda cyhalothrin products have shown acceptable control of grasshoppers up into the adult stages at a reduced cost when compared to traditional products such as carbaryl. Just remember, if using generics, many have a reduced concentration and achieving the desired application of active ingredient will be crucial. (Many generic lambda cy products are 1 lb. instead of 2 lb./gallon products, this doubles the required application rate).
Also remember to always read the label before spraying and good luck with the grasshoppers!