SWEETWATER, Okla. (KFOR) – Out in Roger Mills County, farms and ranchers are fighting drought and now swarms of grasshoppers. In Sweetwater, one beef producer is producing his own videos and having fun with the bug battle.
“We have a few grasshoppers,” said Rancher Monte Tucker.
Tucker is not lying, a drive through one of his pastures and you see exactly what he is talking about: grasshoppers jumping everywhere.
But the 4th generation rancher is having a good time with his grass grubbing friends
Tucker is a trained auctioneer and he’s using his skills on videos he has posted on social media.
“It’s kinda of a parody to a cattle auction, hoping to get rid of some of them find a market! To live out here on the high plains in this desert, you gotta have a sense of humor or it will just eat you up,” said Tucker.
Those dry conditions are actually good for the hoppers, according to experts.
“We had drier spring conditions and then timely rains this late spring and summer, which have led to nice green up of vegetation, which leads to a lot of food for the grasshoppers to munch down,” said Joshua Campbell of OSU-Okla County.
Experts say it’s a 8-10 year high for the pests, and these little buggers can put down 12-30 times more grass pound for pound than their bovine friends.
“30 pounds of grasshoppers eat the equivalent of an 800 pound steer,” said Tucker.
For Tucker, there is not much he can do to fight off the winged eating machines.
“We have good grill guards on our feed trucks and we just try to hit’em hard and fast. They just line my fences in the afternoon. There will be literally two or three hundred per t-post, it’s nuts. They have pretty much eat up my garden plumb up,” said Tucker.
For ranchers and farmers in western Oklahoma, it’s just another setback in a weird 2020.
“We had a packer plant catch on fire, then we had the COVID shutdown. We can’t seem to catch a rain right here. Then we’ve got grasshoppers all over the place. I don’t know what’s coming next. If a UFO landed behind me, I wouldn’t be surprised at all,” said Tucker.
Tucker says he is not surprised about the hundreds of comments he has gotten on his videos. He says his friends know he is nuts.