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Posts Tagged ‘Crop Pests’

Drought Disaster Declared in Montana

Posted by feww on July 5, 2012

Stillwater and Yellowstone counties, Montana, declare drought disasters

Drought conditions created by unseasonably warm temperatures and below average precipitation has stunted crop growth to about 50 percent of normal.

Livestock feed on pasture is reduced by about 50 percent, while dry land hay production has suffered losses of about 85 percent, said an agricultural agent at Yellowstone County.


Total Weekly Precipitation (in)

Worst Drought Conditions Ever Reported

“I’ve never seen anything take hold quite this quickly. We are in mid-September conditions right now,” said Dave Kelsey who’s been farming and ranching in Yellowstone and Stillwater counties for 35 years.

Shrinking Crops

“Dryland hay production is estimated to be 15 percent of normal, and most of the dryland spring wheat is ‘not expected to make a harvestable grain crop,’ Stillwater’s resolution read. ‘Livestock pasture and range conditions are extremely poor due to lack of precipitation, excessive winds and grasshoppers.’” Said a report.

  • Agriculture is Montana’s no. 1 industry.

Montana Wildfires

A dozen large wildfires in Montana have destroyed more than 100 structures and forced at least 1,000 people to flee their homes amid dry conditions in recent days. The fires include

  • Ash Creek Complexhas consumed about 250,000 acres
  • Pony Fire: 5,000 acres
  • Horse Creek Fire:  8,000 acres
  • Dahl Fire: 22,000 acres
  • Bear Trap 2:  15,000 acres

Other Global Disasters/ Significant Events

  • Kansas.  Governor Brownback has updated the Drought Declaration for Kansas counties, amid  worsening drought conditions throughout the Wheat State.
    • The updated drought declaration covers all of the state’s 105 counties. A drought  emergency is in effect for 36 counties, while 55 counties are in a warning status and the remaining 14 in watch status.“Dry, windy and above normal temperatures in Kansas have led to a Drought Emergency declaration for 36 counties,”  said Brownback. “Below normal precipitation patterns are not only depleting available soil moisture, but these types of conditions have resulted in numerous fires as well.”
    • Norton, Kansas, was the hottest location in the U.S. with 118 degrees (47.8ºC) last week, NCDC reported.  Some 22 other locations across the state topped 110 degrees on Thursday June 28.
    • Executive Order 12-08 – Governor Updates Drought Order for Kansas Counties

Kansas Drought Map (June 26, 2012)


Drought has returned to Kansas with 100.00% of the state reporting abnormally dry or drought conditions (D0 – D3) as of June 26, 2012.

  • Florida. Six more counties have been added to the Presidential Major Disaster Declaration for Florida, state officials said. They are Clay, Franklin, Hernando, Highlands Pinellas and Suwanee counties.
    • On Tuesday, the Disaster President declared major disaster areas in Baker, Bradford, Columbia, Pasco and Wakulla counties due to the damage and losses caused by tropical storm DEBBY.
    • DEBBY landed on June 27 in Steinhatchee, Fla, dumping more than a foot of rain in some areas and causing major flooding across the state.
  • Eastern U.S. A massive heat wave continues to affect the eastern two thirds of the U.S., breaking high temperature records from the Midwest to the East Coast, said NWS.


US Weather Hazards Map, July 5, 2012.  Excessive Heat Warnings and
Heat Advisories were in effect throughout or in parts of at least 26 states, as of posting.

Mystery Illness Killing Cambodian Kids

See Global Alert in the next post.

Global Disasters: Links, Forecasts and Background

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Fungus Muscodor Albus Zaps Crop Pests

Posted by feww on February 20, 2010

PUBLIC RELEASE: USAD Research, Education, and Economics

Fungal fumes clear out crop pests

This release is available in Spanish.

A cocktail of compounds emitted by the beneficial fungus Muscodor albus may offer a biologically based way to fumigate certain crops and rid them of destructive pests. That’s the indication from Agricultural Research Service (ARS) studies in which scientists pitted Muscodor against potato tuber moths, apple codling moths and Tilletia fungi that cause bunt diseases in wheat.


Meet Muscodor albus, a stinky white fungus found growing in the twigs of cinnamon trees in the Honduran jungle. After discovering the fungus’ antimicrobial properties, Montana State University researchers recreated the fumes emitted by the organism in the laboratory.  Credit: Montana State University [Download the high-resolution JPG version of the image. (1.4 MB)]

The scientists—at ARS laboratories in Aberdeen, Idaho; Wapato, Wash., and other locations—conducted separate studies of Muscodor. However, their goal was the same: to learn whether volatile organic compounds (VOCs) released by the fungus could replace or diminish the use of synthetic pesticides.


The gases emitted by the fungus M. albus prevent the growth of brown rot on peaches. A treated batch of peaches is shown here next to a control batch, after a 3-day incubation period.  Credit: Agraquest

In field trials conducted since 2007, ARS plant pathologist Blair Goates found that treating wheat seed or the soil with a formulation of Muscodor and ground rye completely prevented common bunt under moderate disease conditions. Caused by the fungus T. tritici, common bunt reduces wheat yields and grain quality. Although chemical fungicide seed treatments have kept common bunt outbreaks to a minimum, alternative controls are worth exploring if the chemicals lose effectiveness or are discontinued, notes Goates, with the ARS Small Grains and Potato Germplasm Research Unit in Aberdeen. Results from this study were published in the Canadian Journal of Microbiology.

At the ARS Yakima Agricultural Research Laboratory in Wapato, entomologist Lerry Lacey and colleagues tested Muscodor against potato tuber moths, which damage potato leaves and tubers, and apple codling moths, which feed inside apples. In fumigation chamber tests, 85 to 91 percent of adult codling moths died when exposed to Muscodor fumes, while 62 to 71 percent of larvae died or failed to pupate. In apple storage tests, a 14-day exposure to Muscodor killed 100 percent of cocooned codling moth larvae, which are especially difficult to control.

Lacey and colleagues have also been testing Muscodor‘s effectiveness in biofumigating sealed cartons of apples stored at various temperatures. The results have been encouraging so far, he reports, and there appears to be no adverse effect on the apples’ color, firmness or other characteristics.

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Read more about this research in the February 2010 issue of Agricultural Research magazine, available online at: http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/AR/archive/feb10/pests0210.htm.

Contact: Jan Suszkiw
jan.suszkiw@ars.usda.gov
United States Department of Agriculture-Research, Education, and Economics

Related Links:

Posted in apple codling moths, ARS labs, bunt diseases, pesticides, potato tuber moths | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »