Prairie grasshopper populations expected to rise in some areas

CNS Canada Grasshopper populations are expected to rise in some western Canadian growing regions, causing more risk for crop damage from the insects this spring and summer, according to provincial insect forecasts.

Forecasts for all three Prairie provinces are based on grasshopper populations observed in the latter half of summer 2013.

In Alberta, the southern region is the most susceptible to growing grasshopper populations, with the exception of the area south of Calgary, Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development’s 2014 grasshopper forecast said. [Related story]

There’s also high risk of grasshopper-related problems in parts of central Alberta, the Peace region, and some areas in the northeastern corner of the province.

In Saskatchewan, pockets of higher populations were reported in the southwest region, with some more severe levels indicated in isolated areas in the northwest region, the Saskatchewan ministry of agriculture’s 2014 grasshopper forecast said.

But most of Saskatchewan is at low risk for damaging high populations of grasshoppers, the forecast noted.

Most areas of Manitoba were rated as having a very light risk of high grasshopper populations this spring. Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Development’s 2014 grasshopper forecast showed 73 out of 101 counts having light risk of large populations of the insect. [Related story]

The extent of how much damage to will be done to crops by grasshoppers in Western Canada this spring will all depend on the weather this spring.

Light soils and south-facing slopes could result in “an elevated risk of grasshopper infestations,” the Alberta grasshopper forecast said.

— Terryn Shiells writes for Commodity News Service Canada, a Winnipeg company specializing in grain and commodity market reporting.

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