GFM Network News

The usual suspects are back this year, and they’re looking to take a bite out of your yields: grasshoppers, bertha armyworm, and cabbage seedpod weevil.

Three crop pests to watch for in Alberta in 2019

Grasshoppers, bertha armyworms and cabbage seedpod weevil

Each winter, Alberta Agriculture and Forestry entomologist Scott Meers and Alberta Agriculture and Forestry insect research technologist Shelley Barkley host #ABbugchat on Twitter, drawing the attention of growers across the province. This year, the pair released forecast maps for three pests: grasshopper, bertha armyworm and cabbage seedpod weevil. Here’s what you missed. Grasshoppers The forecast […] Read more

Good news ahead for wireworm control

New chemical control options are in the works, and should be released in coming years

Haley Catton, research scientist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada at the Lethbridge research station, spoke to farmers about wireworm at Alberta’s FarmTech conference in Edmonton in January. The wireworms that feed on seed and seedlings underneath the ground, Catton said, are the larvae of click beetles. “It’s not a worm at all, actually.” These insects […] Read more

Gabi Uelinger holds six of the required native plants for a 
Q2 meadow.

Farming for the insects and birds

Government programs provide funds for Swiss farmers who follow new mowing rules

Schleitheim, Switzerland: All around me farmers are mowing. From June 15th onwards farmers are allowed to cut meadows and hayfields qualifying for Q2 government subsidies. The Q2 (qualitätsstufe 2) program aims to provide and protect healthy habitat for birds and insects. Non-qualifying fields are already being cut the second or even the third time. Obviously […] Read more

Flea beetle damage on a canola leaf.

Insect economic thresholds: what do they mean?

Q & A with CPS

Q: What do insect economic thresholds mean? A: Insects can eat into your profits. They can appear at any time during the growing season and can cause damage that is patchy, scattered and difficult to gauge. Accurate estimation of both pest population and potential crop damage levels can only be obtained by thorough field scouting. […] Read more

Lygus bugs: know when to spray them

Researchers are revisiting economic threshold recommendations on spraying these bugs

[UPDATED: Jan. 31, 2018] Economic thresholds are developed and publicized so farmers will know when it makes sense to spray for a particular pest. For example, the economic threshold might be that if you have two bugs in your sweep net, the yield you gain will make it worth your costs and time to spray […] Read more

The plants looked healthy. The crop was completely headed out and around the milky stage, with no signs of disease or abnormal growth on the plants’ leaves, stems or heads. What was attracting the beetles?

Crop Advisor’s Casebook: The secret of the swooping birds

A Crop Advisor's Solution from the April 11, 2017 issue of Grainews

Last July, Henry, a Saskatchewan farmer, watched as a throng of birds swooped in and out of his durum wheat field. When he scouted the field, he also found some “black bugs,” which prompted him to give me a call. “You need to look at my durum,” he said. “Birds are swooping, so there must […] Read more

Be ready to scout and control flea beetles

Flea beetles move fast and do a lot of damage. Be sure to keep ahead of them in your canola crops

Flea beetles are easily the most chronically damaging insect pest in western Canadian canola. Damage results in yield losses estimated at $300 million each year. To limit damage, experts recommend acting early when an average level of defoliation level of 25 per cent or more is reached. Early action necessary According to Greg Sekulic, an […] Read more

Amara beetles hunt and chew on cutworms at CanoLAB in Vermilion. Amara beetles belong to the 
Carabid family.

Increasing yields with natural landscapes

Researchers say maintaining some natural habitat next to your fields can bring yield increases

Researchers are looking at how natural landscapes can bump yield in nearby canola fields in Alberta, and they want your yield data. Previous research, done at various locations around the world, has shown that native habitat bestows yield gains and cuts insecticide applications on neighbouring farmland, says Gregory Sekulic, agronomist with the Canola Council of […] Read more

Those wildflowers growing in the ditch may be offering more than just a splash of colour.

Protecting beneficial insects

Folks in crop production tend to focus on the pest insects. But usually most of the insects in a field are beneficial insects, says Dr. Vincent Hervet, pest management specialist with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry. Parasitoids are just one type of beneficial insect farmers are likely to find in their fields. They are wasps or […] Read more