Climate Change Encourages US Drought, Then Pests

Colorado farmers already plagued by a debilitating drought and limited groundwater are now fighting crop-eating insects who like the hot, dry weather that has settled over the state and elsewhere, reports Monte Whaley at the Denver Post.  Grasshoppers, an annual threat to corn, are back this year in huge numbers in areas of Colorado, say agriculture experts. This puts farmers in a pricey dilemma: do you spend more money spraying dying fields, or just watch them die? Just eight grasshoppers can eat as much as one cow, according to experts. But they aren’t even the biggest problem this year. Western corn root worm are showing up in heavy numbers, feeding on corn roots and heavily damaging the plant. Spider mites, meanwhile, attack corn leaves, sucking out their nutrients and killing them, but pesticides also destroy their natural enemies. “They are all directly related to the weather,” agricultural extension agent Ron Meyer said. “The mild winter didn’t control the pests and we had a warm, dry spring, which means they came out early in bigger numbers.” All are having problems producing corn, as prices approach all time highs.

Source

First drought, now pests are descending on parched Colorado farms. Colorado farmers already plagued by a debilitating drought are now fighting the arrival of crop-eating insects who like the hot, dry weather that has settled over the state and elsewhere. Denver Post http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_21116040/first-drought-now-pests-are-descending-parched-colorado

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About melharte

Mel (Mary Ellen) Harte is a biologist (PhD) and climate change educator. She co-authored the free online book, COOL THE EARTH, SAVE THE ECONOMY, available at www.CoolTheEarth.US, and writes the CLIMATE CHANGE THIS WEEK column at the HuffingtonPost. Living summers in the alpine Rockies, she is on the frontlines of watching what climate change can do. Her diagnostic digital photographs of wildflowers have appeared in numerous publications.
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