The Prairie Pest Monitoring Network (PPMN) launched a new website last July at Prairiepest.ca.
The PPMN is a Prairie-wide insect pest monitoring group that provides valuable information, predicts insect risks, monitors insect populations and offers information to growers and agronomists to help them scout for pests, time their scouting activities, and make decisions about using chemical controls.
“We are really excited to be launching this new website,” says Meghan Vankosky, a research scientist in the field crop entomology department with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) and co-chair of the PPMN. “The goal of the network has always been to provide important and timely information to growers and agronomists. This new website helps us to improve communication and engagement with the industry.”
The PPMN was developed 24 years ago after insect researchers at western Canadian universities, provincial agriculture departments and AAFC identified the need for a more co-ordinated approach in monitoring insect populations and conducting entomological research.
“It is a highly collaborative insect pest monitoring and research effort,” says Vankosky. “On an annual basis, the network monitors the populations of at least six pests of field crops (oilseeds, cereals and pulses), as well as populations of beneficial insects. We also keep tabs on populations of beneficial insects (predators, pollinators and parasitoids), and watch out for new invasive insects.”
The PPMN uses data collected during annual pest surveys to develop risk and forecast maps and to create and validate models to predict between and in-season insect phenology. “The network uses standardized monitoring protocols across the Prairies, so that data is comparable. This was a significant early achievement of the network that we continue to build upon,” says Vankosky.
Easy and quick to navigate
The website will expand the functionality of the previous PPMN blog, and allows users to quickly and easily navigate the site to find the information they need. Subscribers will receive a weekly update during the growing season via email that provides local, scientific information about risks of major pests, tips on scouting methods and information on when in-field scouting activities should be conducted, as well as other important posts and updates during the winter.
“The PPMN is a valuable resource for farmers, agronomists and scientists,” said Garth Patterson executive director, Western Grains Research Foundation in a press release. “WGRF is pleased to support the PPMN in the development of this new website. Pest issues are Prairie-wide, so it makes sense to have a Prairie-wide perspective.”
Producer groups, including the Western Grains Research Foundation, SaskWheat, Saskatchewan Pulse Growers, SaskCanola, Prairie Oat Growers Association, Manitoba Pulse and Soybean Growers, Manitoba Wheat and Barley Growers, Manitoba Canola Growers and Alberta Wheat currently collaborate with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, through the Canada Agricultural Partnership, to fund the PPMN.
“The new website, which is still under development and will host more information in the future, provides a reliable resource for insect information,” says Vankosky. “We ask everyone who is interested to subscribe, and confirm their subscription, to the website, and visit it often as we roll out new pages.”
To view the site, visit Prairiepest.ca.