Weevil and plot trial lessons from the past year

Results from the 2020 pea leaf weevil survey and the Plot2Farm trials are now available

Pea leaf weevil can be a problem anywhere in Alberta, but a survey done this year only found significant numbers in the south and in the Edmonton area.
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Producers in the area around Edmonton as well as in southern Alberta may be at greater risk of seeing pea leaf weevils this spring.

In a recent blog post on the Alberta Pulse Growers website, provincial insect survey technologist Shelley Barkley provided a summary of the annual survey for the pest.

The survey, taken in late May/early June in 237 fields, involves counting the number of feeding notches on 10 plants in five locations near the field margin. (The feeding notches are from adult pea leaf weevils but their larvae also cause yield loss by feeding on roots.)

“Experience has shown us that activity levels greater than nine notches per plant is sufficient to cause significant damage if spring conditions are favourable,” Barkley wrote. “This covers the irrigated area of southern Alberta and the region around Edmonton. For producers in these higher areas in 2020 there is a risk of damaging levels of pea leaf weevil in 2021.”

Barkley stresses that survey results don’t constitute a forecast for the coming year and said “producers should use this information along with their own experience to plan control strategies such as seed treatment for the 2021 crop year. Research has shown that seed treatment is much more effective in reducing losses from pea leaf weevil than foliar treatments.”

Spring weather is also a major factor, with a few days of greater than 20 C temperatures leading to earlier arrival of pea leaf weevils and greater damage.

For more info and a map of survey results, go to the News section of albertapulse.com.

Plot2Farm results

Alberta Wheat and Alberta Barley have posted details of this year’s Plot2Farm results. The program helps growers conduct on-farm research with a formal research protocol in place and support from an agronomist.

This past year, two farmers participated in the program: Devin Hartzler tested increased seeding rates on feed barley variety CDC Austenson, and Gordon Ellis compared the performance of two wheat varieties, AC Foremost and AAC Goodwin.

In addition to a description of the trials, the one-page fact sheets summarize key info: seeding data (such as date, row spacing, and previous crop); in-season info (such as pesticides, fertilizer, and rainfall); and harvest data on the crop.

They can be found at albertawheat.com (click on Media and then Blog: The Wheat Sheaf).

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