Heat not bothering the farmers, but weevils seen in first cutting

Jessica Robinson

Despite the early hot temperatures and dry conditions, farming in the area is still trucking for several farmers. The major problem that has been occurring for alfalfa hay this year has been weevils.

Richard Russell is farming sugar beets, alfalfa, corn and barley. He said they are doing okay and have been getting decent water. Russell added there has been a little struggle with getting water on the south end.

As for the Greybull River, he said they don’t have the free reservoir.

“We are going to make it this year,” he said. However, Russell doesn’t know what next year is going to look like.

Russell said his crops are looking good. He reported that his corn and sugar beets are looking fair. As for a timeline for harvesting, he thought they are going to be where it should be.

The first cut of alfalfa hay for Russell had a little bit of weevil damage.

Russell said his barley is looking fair this year. He thinks that harvest on his barley may be a little late.

Rowan Hartman of Otto is spread out, farming in Otto and Burlington and having cutter bees near the hospital. He produces alfalfa and beans.

The heat doesn’t bother Hartman as long as there is enough water. He said they had abundant water early on. There might be less later on. However, he thinks they will be okay.

According to Hartman, cutter bees like they heat, generally in the 80-degree range.

Hartman said they have been late with first cutting due to being a small 800-acre operation with Hartman, his girlfriend and parents working it.

One thing Hartman echoes with Russell is having weevils in his first cutting. In his three years of farming, he said there have been weevils the last two years.

According to a publication with the U.W. Extension Office, alfalfa weevil is the most serious destructive insect to alfalfa grown for hay in the high and inter-mountain plains of the U.S. Both larvae and adults feed on alfalfa, damaging its stems, plant terminals and leaves. Damage from weevils lowers crop tonnage and forage quality due to leaf tissue losses. There are multiple forms for controlling weevils that include insecticides, burning in the spring and biological controls such as ladybird beetles and damsel bugs.