Grasshoppers delaying planting season for major crop in the Panhandle

Grasshoppers delaying planting season for major crop in the Panhandle

Amarillo, TX - A wet year is bringing a heavy population of grasshoppers to our area.

Doctor Ed Bynum, an entomologist with Texas AgriLife says they are posing an early threat before winter wheat producers even plant their crop.

"A lot of times the wheat producer like to plant early in September to try and get the wheat up and established," said Bynum.

But these producers might want to hold off, at least for a little bit longer.

"The biggest concern is they'll move out of the grain sorghum and corn when they dry down, to the wheat. They'll start eating it and it can cause devastating losses as far as stands," said Bynum.

If a large number of wheat farmers lose out on their crop, not only does it affect their revenue but it could reduce their activity in our local economy. Winter wheat in our area is mainly used to feed animals, and a delay in this crop is also concerning ranchers.

Bynum says if these producers have already jumped on planting early, they need to spray their crop to protect it.

"There are some insecticides that's available to control them," said Bynum.

But with the high number of grasshoppers we've had, spraying can only last about 2 weeks. Farmers might have to spray multiple times, which can get expensive. Bynum says the best thing to do to protect the wheat crop is wait before putting the seeds in the ground.

"Wait until maybe October. Farmers will still get a good stand then," said Bynum.

Bynum also adds that grasshoppers will stick around until we have a good hard freeze towards the end of October.