GFM Network News

Got bugs in your bins? Researchers want to hear from you.

Crop disease, pest survey needs farmers

Reading Time: < 1 minute Ag Canada’s Prairie Biovigilance Network needs farmers for two surveys, one for leaf disease in wheat fields and another for insects occurring in grain bins. The network is a multidisciplinary group seeking ways to reduce pest problems, insects, weeds, and diseases in western Canadian crops and to raise awareness regarding the prevalence, variability and impact […] Read more

We know beneficial insects eat crop pests — ladybugs, for example, love aphids — but now Alberta researchers armed with advanced DNA tools are taking a deep dive into their eating habits. The goal is to identify top pest predators and find ways to enhance their numbers in fields.

Next-gen DNA sequencing aims to find the best beneficial bugs

U of A researchers using advanced tech to find what’s on the menu of your insect allies

Reading Time: 3 minutes It’s like a scene out of the movie “Jaws.” The intrepid scientist reaches his hand into the gut of a shark and pulls out what it had for dinner — a different fish or maybe, in the case of sharks, a tin can. He knows, just by examining those contents, what this predator likes to […] Read more

Wheat midge is an “insidious” thief of both yield and quality, says entomologist Tyler Wist, seen here demonstrating how to sweep for the pest.

Keep watch for wheat midge this growing season

This silent killer is a ‘big bad’ threat and may be out in force in some areas this year

Reading Time: 5 minutes Ask any wheat farmer about orange blossom wheat midge and they may tell you it’s the ‘big bad’ of crop insects and comparable to fusarium in terms of pure destructive power. “It’s kind of insidious,” said AgCanada entomologist Tyler Wist. “Often if you’re not out looking for it you don’t even know it’s there. Then […] Read more

This year you’ll want to keep an eye out for three particular crop pests but overall, bertha army worms may be the bigger threat than cabbage seedpod weevil and grasshoppers.

Here’s what pests might be waiting for you in your fields

Bertha army worms get the biggest red flag in three new pest monitoring reports

Reading Time: 3 minutes There could be a bertha army worm outbreak in parts of the province this year, but cabbage seedpod weevil survey numbers are down, and, save in the south, grasshoppers aren’t a big worry, according to new provincial pest forecasts. Bertha army worm Keep watch is the take-away from last year’s survey, which consisted of 350 […] Read more

Flea beetles are ever present but there is at least one new seed treatment coming out this year, says entomology professor, Boyd Mori.

Average year expected for insect pests in Alberta

But as usual, local conditions mean producers need to ‘scout, scout, and scout’

Reading Time: 3 minutes Insect pressure dropped in 2020, and Alberta producers can expect much the same for 2021. “In general, 2020 wasn’t really a big insect year, especially compared to past years,” said Boyd Mori, an assistant professor of agricultural and ecological entomology at the University of Alberta. “We had flea beetle pressure like we always do, but a lot […] Read more

While there are some spots with increased levels of sawfly damage, a survey done in the fall found levels lower than those during the outbreaks of the early 2000s. The black dots show locations where zero sawfly damage was found.

Wheat stem sawfly survey finds some hot spots in southern Alberta

Populations of the pest seem low in most areas, but some fields had moderate or high damage

Reading Time: 2 minutes Populations of wheat stem sawfly are increasing in parts of southern Alberta, the latest provincial survey has found. The survey, conducted in the fall, found increased levels of sawfly damage in Forty Mile County. However, sawfly numbers seem to have declined in Willow Creek and Vulcan Counties, but that might just be a reflection of […] Read more

This forecast map is from the July 9 weekly update from the Prairie Pest Monitoring Network. Producers can get the weekly update by signing up at

New user-friendly website for Prairie pest network

Reading Time: < 1 minute The Prairie Pest Monitoring Network has a new user-friendly website. The website,, has the features that were part of its long-running blog, such as risk maps, insect monitoring protocols, weekly updates, and insect of the week features. “The new site expands the functionality of the previous PPMN blog,” said network co-chair Jennifer Otani, a […] Read more

A stem infected by root rot shows signs of shredding, shattering and the development of a sclerotial body. The central cavity (pith tissue) has been destroyed, which is characteristic of stem rot.

A mix of pests and diseases on the roster for #crop2020

Wheat midge, wheat stem sawfly, net blotch and other things to look out for

Reading Time: 4 minutes There are several diseases and pests farmers might want to keep an eye out for this growing season. “It’s kind of a hodgepodge this year,” said Jeremy Boychyn, agronomy research extension specialist with Alberta Barley and Alberta Wheat. The southern part of the province has had consistent issues with grasshoppers because it has been so […] Read more

Diamondback moths typically arrive in early spring after being carried by wind currents from the U.S. or even northern Mexico. Their larvae will feed on canola and mustard.

Crop pest survey tools up and running

Reading Time: < 1 minute The Alberta Insect Pest Monitoring Network has “live feed maps” up and running for the province. The maps show results from traps around the province set up and overseen by co-operator farmers. As co-operators post results from the traps, they are posted immediately to the map. The five insects covered by these maps are bertha […] Read more

Pea leaf weevil numbers have been rising for several years. To track the expansion, provincial agriculture officials are conducting surveys across the province.

Producers needed for pea leaf weevil survey

Pest has been growing in numbers but surveying the damage they cause is challenging

Reading Time: < 1 minute Provincial agriculture staff are looking for producers willing to have their fields surveyed for damage from pea leaf weevil feeding in late May and early June. “If you are a producer who is planting peas in 2020 or an agronomist who has clients with pea fields, we would like the opportunity to visit your field,” […] Read more