January 20, 1999

TEAM Leafy Spurge Announces Projects for 1999
By Steve Merritt
TEAM Leafy Spurge Technology Transfer Specialist

SIDNEY, Montana — Several existing and new research and demonstration projects were funded by the TEAM Leafy Spurge ad hoc committee last week, paving the way for a second summer of coordinated, area-wide efforts at battling one of region’s most costly noxious weeds.

TEAM Leafy Spurge coordinator Chad Prosser said the ad hoc committee was pleased with results produced by existing projects — which were implemented last summer and range from multi-species grazing demonstrations to herbicide studies — as well as with the overall quality of new proposals submitted for consideration.

"We’re impressed with the progress shown by projects that were begun last summer, and we’re anxious to show ranchers and land managers what we’ve learned," Prosser said. "We were also pleased with the number and quality of new proposals we received — it shows that people are definitely interested in leafy spurge and in working together to help devise effective, affordable control strategies."

A total of 10 existing and seven new projects received funding totaling more than $1 million.

New projects approved for the upcoming field season include:

• Tony Caesar, plant pathologist, USDA-ARS Northern Plains Agricultural Research Laboratory (Sidney, Mt.) — Biological Control with Multiple Agents: A study and demonstration of naturally occurring, soil borne plant pathogens and their relationship with biocontrol agents.

• Bob Carlson, professor of entomology, North Dakota State University (Fargo, N.D.) — Utilization of Oberea erythrocephala: Regional distribution and demonstration of the long-horned beetle, a stem-boring biocontrol agent that has been shown to work well in moist soils.

• Diane Larson, research biologist, U.S. Geological Survey/Biological Resources Division (St. Paul, Minn.) — An Evaluation of Control Efforts on Leafy Spurge: A cooperative project with Theodore Roosevelt National Park to evaluate the effect of leafy spurge control efforts, the effect of those efforts on native plant and animal communities, and the effect of leafy spurge on native plant and animal communities.

• Chad Prosser, TEAM Leafy Spurge coordinator and TEAM Leafy Spurge Technology Transfer Team Leader, USDA-ARS NPARL — Demonstration of Leafy Spurge Control with Herbicides: A demonstration of various herbicides.

• Tim Faller, director, North Dakota State University-Hettinger Extension Research Center — Feasibility of a Cooperatively Owned Sheep Grazing Operation: A study to determine the feasibility of a producer-owned sheep co-op to provide sheep for leafy spurge control within a multi-species grazing program.

• Douglas Johnson, Grasslands Initiative Team Leader, U.S. Geological Survey/Biological Resources Division (Jamestown, N.D.) — Effects of Leafy Spurge Invasion on Grassland Bird Populations: Research to evaluate how leafy spurge disrupts native plant communities and how that disruption effects passerine bird populations.

• Tom Steger, South Dakota field manager, Bureau of Land Management (Belle Forche, S.D.) — Management Approach for Leafy Spurge Control: A cooperative weed database and mapping project between the BLM, South Dakota Department of School and Public Lands, South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks, U.S. Forest Service and National Park Service.

Existing projects funded include:

• Tim Faller, Multi-Species Grazing Trial: A multi-species grazing trial in Sentinel Butte, N.D., to demonstrate how sheep can be used to compliment cattle operations by controlling leafy spurge, increasing forage production and increasing ranch profitability.

• Mark Ferrell, pesticide coordinator/weed specialist, University of Wyoming Cooperative Extension Service (Laramie, Wyo.) — Leafy Spurge Grazing Demonstration, Spring Grazing to Reduce Leafy Spurge: A study and demonstration of utilizing perennial, cool-season grasses to suppress leafy spurge establishment, and how grazing strategies can be used to increase range health and control the spread of leafy spurge.

• Steve Hager, GIS specialist, Theodore Roosevelt National — Developing A GIS Database: A cooperative project with the USDA-ARS and U.S. Geological Service to map leafy spurge infestations and biological control agent release sites and develop a Geographic Information System database for the entire Little Missouri River drainage.

• Scott Kronberg, associate professor of animal and range sciences, South Dakota State University — Grazing Research and Demonstration: A study of how four different breeds of sheep graze leafy spurge, and a demonstration of using stocking rates and rotational grazing to control leafy spurge.

• Larry Leistritz, professor of agricultural economics, North Dakota State University — Socioeconomic Impacts: A study to evaluate the socioeconomic impacts of leafy spurge and the costs and benefits of IPM strategies, and to determine managerial, institutional and social factors that influence the use of various control strategies.

• Rod Lym, professor of plant sciences, North Dakota State University — Demonstration of Leafy Spurge Control with Herbicides: A demonstration of leafy spurge control with various herbicides, different methods of application, and the integration of herbicides with biological control agents.

• Bob Nowierski, professor of entomology, Montana State University (Bozeman) — Ecological Barriers to Aphthona Establishment: A multi-faceted project to identify factors that influence the establishment of Aphthona spp. flea beetles.

• Roger Sheley, noxious weed specialist, Montana State University Extension Service (Bozeman) — Ecologically Based Decision System: A project to develop and design an interactive, computer-based decision making tool for ranchers, landowners and land managers.

• Neal Spencer, research leader, USDA-ARS NPARL — Foreign Exploration: An international search for leafy spurge biological control agents.

• Leon Wrage, noxious weed specialist, South Dakota State University Extension Service (Brookings, S.D.) — Integrating Current and Emerging Herbicide Technologies: A study and demonstration of long-term herbicide applications, new and developing herbicide technologies, and control alternatives for environmentally sensitive areas.

TEAM Leafy Spurge is a five-year research and demonstration project funded by the USDA-ARS in partnership with the USDA-Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service. Its goal is providing landowners and land managers with proven leafy spurge control techniques based on sustainable integrated pest management strategies.

For more information on TEAM Leafy Spurge, biological control of leafy spurge or Integrated Pest Management, contact TEAM Leafy Spurge coordinator Chad Prosser at 406-433-9403 (cprosser@sidney.ars.usda.gov).

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