Skip to main content

Field Crops IPM Podcast: Climate in Minnesota and how it helps and challenges pest management

 Welcome to the 1st IPM Podcast for Field Crops of 2021. Subscribe to the podcast and never miss an episode on iTunes, Google Podcasts, and Spotify.

This Podcast is sponsored by the UMN Extension Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Program. In this week’s podcast, we feature Dr. Heidi Roop, Assistant Professor & Extension Specialist of Climate Science at the U of MN in the Department of Soil, Water, and Climate. Click here to listen to the podcast

Our Minnesota winters are getting warmer on average where we experience relatively mild temperatures like we saw this past January more often, and even our coldest periods of winter are less frequent and not as cold as they used to be. Later this week, a moderate cold snap is in the forecast with nightly lows in central Minnesota expected to be near -20°F. However, this is still warmer than needed to significantly affect some of our established pest species, especially compared to 2019 when nightly lows were closer to -30°F. The importance of such individual weather events and overall Minnesota climate for pest management was discussed in this episode.

In explaining climate versus weather, Dr. Roop likened climate to a person's general personality, while weather is like more akin to our day-to-day mood (e.g., if someone wakes up on the wrong side of the bed or didn't have coffee that morning). We will always see changes in weather or "mood swings" throughout the year, but changes and variability Minnesota's climate "personality" can pose more of a challenge to farmers.

This increased variability in Minnesota's climate also can lead to a whiplash effect, especially in spring and during the rest of the growing season. More periods of switching between heavy rain followed by drought can make growing a crop difficult. However, this can also benefit pests by giving them a head start in development during early spring warm spells or provide periods of extreme environmental conditions conducive to disease, such as saturated soil. Longer growing seasons may sound beneficial at first for crop growth, but this also comes at increased risk pest populations growing in that time as well.

Heidi Roop 

Prior to starting her position at the University of Minnesota, Dr. Roop was the Lead Scientist for Science Communication at the University of Washington Climate Impacts Group. She worked as Physical Scientist at the United States Geological Survey’s Colorado Water Science Center. Heidi has used her science communication expertise to help organizations like NASA, the National Science Foundation, the Exploratorium, and the Washington State Department of Ecology more effectively communicate their work.

Click here to listen to the podcast

This podcast was hosted by Dr. Anthony Hanson (, an IPM Educator for Field Crops with University of Minnesota Extension based out of Morris, MN. The purpose of the IPM podcast is to alert Growers, Ag Professionals and Educators about emerging pest concerns on Minnesota field crops. We also review recent pest trends and research updates.

For IPM Program updates, visit the UMN Extension IPM website.     

Print Friendly and PDF