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^UNITED^STATES 



^DE^RTMENT 
of AGRICULTURE 




EOUIfJKXRS 1 CHAT 



SATUEDAY, JANUARY 21, 1939 



(FOR BROADCAST USE ONLY) 



SUBJECT : "KET7S NOTES FROM tfASHINCTON. " Information from the Office of Information, 
7. S. Department of Agriculture. 

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Listeners, let's talk about the weather for a change. Let's talk about the 
weather because the annual report of the U. S. leather Bureau is out with what 
se^ms like a very cheerful prediction. 

"The years just ahead will average relatively wet if the weather pattern of 
the past century continues," says this report. And it goes on to explain that 
vreather history is a succession of dry and wet cycles mixed with periods of about 
average rainfall— -or precipitation, to use the weather experts' term. The succes- 
sions of long-continued dryness are irregular. And as yet the experts have found 
no way to forecast them. Many investigators believe that weather conditions on land 
are somehow related to the weather that has just preceded them at sea. The Weather 
Bureau has on file long-time weather histories for the United States but no compar- 
able records of nearby ocean areas. 

Well, as I said, the weathermen's prediction for 1939 seems to be: "It looks 
like rain." But they warn against being too hopeful that the danger of drought is 
past. In every long-time: agricultural program for this country, they advise consid- 

r.g the drought problem. They say this is especially necessary for the western 
Plains where normal rainfall is relatively light. 

This prediction from the weather experts of the Department of Agriculture re- 
minds me of another from the entomologists— another cheerful prediction for 1939. 
The entomologists say that grasr hopper outbreaks in the States west of the Missi- 
ssippi are not likely to be so severe in 1939 as they were in 1938. Destruction of 
tordes of hoppers by poison last summer along with continued rains has considerably 
reduced the danger for next season. 

The entomologists base their predictions about next summer's grasshopper pop- 
ulation on a careful count of grasshopper eggs every fall in parts of the country 
raere grasshoppers are must numerous. This egg count in the fall has proved an ac- 
hate forecast of the next summer's population— or infestation, as the entomolo- 
gists say. The recent egg survey showed from a third to two-thirds fewer eggs in 
Wisconsin, Iow a , Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma. 

The egg count also gives the entomologists a pretty good idea of how much 
poison bait will be needed to control the hoppers of the season to come. They esti- 
mate now that over 206 thousand tons of bait will be necessary for the 1939 hoppers, 
-is amount will allow for 65 thousand tons to be used on idle lands for poisoning 
migratory grasshoppers— a very serious problem. 

tive • J> i* ln& 1538 State rnd Federal organizations for grasshopper control were ac- 
St-te^ff p^tes. For the Stntes from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Coast, 
e o icipis estimated that the grasshopper campaign saved crops worth 176 mil- 



R-HC 



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1/21/39 



lion dollars- More than 400 thousand farmers used about 155 thousand tons of mixed 
bait on about 30 million acres of land and this protected more than 56 million acres 
of crops. 

The war on grasshoppers was must successful in regions where the different 
kinds of hoppers that destroy crops were not inclined to migrate long distances by 
flight. In areas where the migratory species developed there was a high degree of 
control which prevented much flight and resulted in substantial savings of crops, 
there there were enough men to bait the hatching places before the young hoppers mi- 
grated into crops and where communities organized to cooperate on the fight, grass- 
hoppers did a minimum of damage. But in all these States there were some losses 
from grasshoppers because many farmers do not use bait until they actually see the 
insects damaging their crops. 

The larger part of the estimated loss of 87 million dollars from grasshop- 
pers was in the northern States of the Great Plains. In this area there were unusu- 
ally large numbers of eggs of one of the migratory species. Then the cool weather 
delayed the hatching of eggs so farmers had to repeat their applications of bait. In 
this area, too, the farm population is scare — in some places only two or three fami- 
lies to a township. So there was not enough man power to put bait over the great 
areas where grasshoppers were hatching. The result was that these migratory insects 
made some destructive flights into 15 counties in eastern Montana, 3 counties in 
Wyoming, scattered counties of North and South Dakota, and into areas along the Red 
River Valley in North Dakota and Minnesota. 

Areas infested with migratory grasshoppers present a special problem. They 
include a goud deal of idle lands near cultivated fields. On these idle lands 
farmers are reluctant to poison the hoppers because the land doesn't "belong to them. 
And often the job is too big for them anyway. So in some places last year the 
grasshoppers from these idle lands flew into cultivated fields after farmers had 
controlled those that hatched on their property. 

So much for weather and grasshopper predictions. 

That cuncludes the news from the Department of Agriculture for today. 



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