The grasshopper population this year seems to have jumped up by quite a bit.
Plenty of producers have noticed that as we continue into harvest, it seems like grasshoppers have come right out of the woodwork in droves.
Matthew Struthers, a crops extension specialist with the Ministry of Agriculture, thinks that might be more or less what is happening.
"My assumption would be that those grasshoppers are just moving from field to field now that some of those fields down in the Southwest are being combined," hypothesized Struthers. "You're taking away their food source so they're going to be moving."
As crops are combined and swathed, grasshoppers are forced to go and find greener pastures, as it's the greenery that they want to eat.
As crops ripen and get closer to harvest, grasshoppers become more mobile, seeking those greenery-filled fields that remain. That can lead to questions of risk for crops that are still a little green out in the field.
"Risk has kind of been there all summer long, especially down in the southwest where it's been very dry, not only this year but also last year," added Struthers.
Grasshoppers thrive under those conditions, multiplying extensively. Those numbers lead to increased damage to crops that are still green. The kicker is that most precautions are taken at the start of the growing season with spraying being the most effective. Right now, the best thing to do is get the harvest in and let the cooler weather slowly thin the herd in the fall.
"I'm sure there's a lot of combines out there that are chock full of grasshoppers as they go through fields," continued Struthers. "That's also another risk or a challenge that producers might run into."
Grasshoppers in bins and hoppers can be annoying, as they can plug up augers and combines. They can even lead to problems at the elevator if not properly cleaned up beforehand, causing some contamination. The best thing to do is clean equipment and grain before turning it over for sale.
"Anything in your seed when you take it in is just going to lead to a downgrade and less money on that check they cut you," said Struthers.
While the grasshopper population is active, it will be a good idea to watch equipment, making sure to be clear of the bugs before filling the bins.