Grasshoppers are Back and Costing Big Bucks - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

7/22/03 - Tyler

Grasshoppers are Back and Costing Big Bucks

Thousands and thousands of grasshoppers are devouring this hay field at R.B. Richardson's ranch.

"Mostly this year we have them in places we didn't spray heavy last year," says R.B. Richardson, Henderson County rancher.

Ag agents say grasshoppers are bad again this year on the western fringe of East Texas. You can blame consecutive years of hot, dry summers and warm dry autumns for the hoppers survival.

"We've seen the last couple of years grasshoppers devour a tremendous amount of forage and when you look at the cost of fertilizer, the amount of forage you need for hay and grazing, it's added into the millions of dollars in losses," says Rick Hirsch, Henderson County Ag Extension Agent.

R.B. normally gets three to 3.5 rolls of hay per cut, but this time because of the grasshoppers he only got a little over two, that can translate into a ten thousand dollar loss.

"Well, the grasshoppers eat a third of your hay and so you have to put all your cost as opposed to three bales put back on two bales," says R.B.

The chemicals R.B. uses to control the grasshoppers are also costly.

"It costs several dollars an acre to put this chemical down plus an employee and tractor equipment."

Now, R.B. is going to have to treat the grasshoppers again. That's several hundred dollars he wasn't planning to spend.

Ag agent, Rick Hirsch says there's a new insecticide for large areas that's been effective called dimilin.  For home use, he says there's still diazinon and insecticides in the carbaryl family.  The best control, however, is a cold really wet winter.

Dana Dixon reporting

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