The University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) recently announced that they had completed a major overhaul to their UNL water website and contacted SDSU Extension to see if we would help spread the word.
I recently came across an article from the Associated Press addressing road salt and the nation's waterways. Many of you may have seen the article too as a number of local media outlets elected to carry it. While road salt is almost a necessity in our part of the country, it can come at a cost.
During Dakotafest 2017 (August 15 - 17) under the SDSU Extension tent, both young and old alike will have the opportunity to literally play in a sandbox—and possibly learn a little something about how watersheds work at the same time.
We have been monitoring grasshopper populations in the Eastern part of the state throughout the summer. Initially populations appeared to be relatively low, but we are now observing and also receiving reports of grasshopper populations that are at thresholds or have greatly exceeded them.
In recent years, the Western Corn Belt has been highlighted as an area where cropland acres have expanded at the expense of grassland cover loss. To better understand land use change from a producer’s perspective, a survey on land operators’ views was carried out in Eastern South Dakota and North Dakota in spring 2015.
When controlling grassland weeds, the mindset of row crop weed control is put into practice too often. In most cases, broadcast control of weeds in grasslands is rarely necessary. Most often, spot or zone spraying can be used more effectively to manage the noxious and problematic weeds. What is zone spraying? Well, let us take a moment and consider this in a different context. For example, in basketball when a player is on defense, he is not chasing other players all over the court. Instead, he is defending a certain area and not the whole basketball court.
In South Dakota, true white grubs have steadily become a significant issue for rangeland and pasture. During the second and third year of their lifecycle, the white grub larvae feed on a large amount of root tissue and leave behind barren or brown circular patches in rangelands. The adults of the true white grub are commonly referred to as June beetles.
According to 2015 UN estimations by 2050 the U.S. will have a population of 402 million, 25% greater than today. In order to feed this population and sustain the country’s economy through commodities’ exports, agricultural output needs to increase by a similar amount by that year. These figures are projections based on current population and food production dynamics. One critical component of this equation is going to be the presence of enough pollinator activity. Pollinators are crucial to maintain global food production and a healthy ecosystem.
Black grass bugs are an occasional pest of grasslands in South Dakota. They are native to the Great Plains and typically occur in low numbers. However, black grass bug populations can build over time, especially in areas where wheatgrasses are dominant. Large populations of black grass bugs can cause considerable damage (up to 90% forage reduction) to range and pastures. Although we have not received any reports yet this year, it is important to be aware of black grass bugs and to monitor their populations each spring.
There has been moderate to extensive land use conversion activity in the Western Corn Belt, where corn and soybeans are the dominant cropland use. To understand motivations of land use change from producers’ perspective, a survey on land operators’ views was carried out in east river South Dakota and North Dakota in spring 2015. The motivators for land use choice from the producers’ perspective were ranked, which showed the average rating of the 1026 respondents.