Hmm… really big ‘hoppers in Colorado, or really small cows?
“Just eight grasshoppers can eat as much as one cow, according to experts.”
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.
“It’s to the point where we just feel beat up,” said Harry Strohauer, who has already let 500 acres of corn on his 3,500-acre Weld County spread die to conserve water.
Grasshoppers, an annual threat to corn and other plants, are back this year in huge numbers in some areas of Colorado, say agriculture experts.
That includes Strohauer’s farm, which also grows potatoes for local retailers. On Thursday, as Strohauer walked down a row of dying corn stalks, swarms of grasshoppers leaped around his head after tearing holes through what used to be a viable crop. In another field, the pests have gnawed entire rows of corn to the ground.
Strohauer said he and other farmers who are watching their once green fields fade away face the same pricey dilemma.
“Do you spend as much as $35 to $45 an acre to spray your fields that are dying, or do you forget about it but guarantee your fields won’t stand a chance at all of surviving?” he said.
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 the leaves of corn and other plants, sucking out their nutrients and killing them.
“We’ve seen both of these in higher numbers than normal,” said Ron Meyer, Colorado State University extension agent for a five-county region in northeast Colorado.