Mole crickets are a pain for most Floridians, but they are doubly so for The Sunshine State’s cattle producers. However, researchers with UF/IFAS and economists with Florida A&M University have recently announced success in a 34-year-old program aimed at controlling this non-native agriculture pest, maintaining it created savings for Florida cattlemen that reaches in to the hundreds of millions.
As a major pest, mole crickets damage grasses by feeding on roots and blades during the nighttime hours and by tunneling through the soil around the surface level, which uproots plants or causes them to become too dry. In the 1990s, mole cricket populations exploded and created so much crop damage their numbers and the damage they inflicted was likened to those of swarms of locusts.
The Florida Legislature sprang into action and approved funding for The Mole Cricket Biological Control Program. It has “been worth every penny invested by the Florida Legislature and other stakeholders in the state,” said UF/IFAS professor of entomology and nematology, Dr. Norm Leppla, in a recent news piece on the UF/IFAS website.
Economists with FL A&M worked with UF/IFAS researchers to determine that the program has saved Florida cattlemen $13.6 million a year, or over $450 million dollars since the program’s start. It mainly focused on finding a safe and effective control for the mole cricket. Florida cattlemen looking for current control methods can be found here.
Griffin Fertilizer is committed to helping both growers and ranchers make sound agronomic and economic decisions in order to maximize the health of their grove and pasture. As a full-service custom dry & liquid fertilizer blender and crop protection product distributor, we will continue our mission to further advance Florida agriculture.
For questions or concerns about your farm or pasture, contact us and one of our team will be in touch.