Grasshoppers by the thousands make it hard for farmers

Aug 4, 2022, 7:17 PM | Updated: Aug 5, 2022, 10:58 am

It’s a tough situation to be in. Already, farmers are tightly restricted on their water out here in Park Valley and suddenly what little hay is growing is now getting gobbled up by bugs.

Farming is a constant struggle; always hoping for the right conditions.

“Don’t we live on faith?” Larsen laughed.

Royce Larsen now seeing some of the worst of those he’s ever experienced. Two years of severe drought and now the grasshoppers are back again too. They started showing up in May.

“Little ones like this, just by the thousands,” Larsen said.

They’re covering enough of his seven-thousand acres to be a big problem. The Utah Department of Agriculture and Food does offer a cost-sharing program that pays for chemicals to treat fields, but between wind and rain, Larsen says they got to it too late this year.

“Hay is $300 to $400 a ton — there’s no way cows survive, you know?”

That’s what Larsen’s faced with now. Not enough of an alfalfa crop to feed his cattle this winter. He may have to sell some of them off as it all becomes not worth the cost.

“I don’t know how we’re going to make it, I really don’t,” Larsen said.

According to the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food, the grasshoppers run in about a five- to six-year cycle and it appears this one timed unfortunately badly with the drought.

It’s hard to predict how it will go, but they say it’s likely that the problem has not yet reached its peak.

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Grasshoppers by the thousands make it hard for farmers