GFM Network News



In a hot, dry year, you expect a lot of heat-loving pests, but that wasn’t the case this year in much of Alberta — although these fellows were more numerous south of Highway 1.

Hot, dry conditions drove down insect and disease pressure in 2018

By and large, producers didn’t see as much insect damage or disease loss this year

Crop yields in Alberta took a hit this year because of the hot, dry conditions — but the blow wasn’t as big as it could have been, thanks to decreased disease and insect pressure. “Across the province, we’re trending close to the five-year average, and the lack of disease and insect pressure may have helped […] Read more


The stem-mining weevil larvae live up to their name, burrowing down the length of Canada thistles and feeding on their leaves after becoming adults.

There’s a reason why stem-mining weevils are the priciest livestock in Alberta

The insects are mowing down Canada thistle across the province, and attracting lots of eager buyers

Tens of thousands of weevils have been pouring into Alberta from Montana — and producers are clamouring for more. “It’s a biological control and it’s been going great,” said Rachael Nay, conservation agriculture extension co-ordinator with the West-Central Forage Association. The association began the project to import stem-mining weevils four years ago as a way […] Read more

Top four pests to watch in canola

There are a lot of insects out there, but damage-causing pests are actually in the minority. Even a few “bad” bugs can be beneficial. “Crops can tolerate a certain level,” said Keith Gabert, agronomy specialist, for the Canola Council of Canada. “And even in some cases, it can benefit from a little bit of insect[...]
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Seven beneficial insects on your farm

When making crop production management decisions, consider beneficial insect populations. These harmless bugs can provide adequate control if their populations are high enough. Some beneficial insects are hard to identify, but with some basic training producers should be able to spot them in the field. The following beneficial insects are found in most crops in[...]
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Not having a refuge for wheat midge in a midge-tolerant crop could quickly cost growers resistance that saves them $60 million annually.

Safeguard wheat midge tolerance or lose it, growers warned

A single gene that protects wheat from this costly pest could quickly be lost if there’s no refuge in fields

Planting saved soft white spring wheat that’s tolerant to wheat midge comes with a multimillion-dollar risk. If tolerance is lost, it could cost growers $60 million annually and up to $36 per acre, said Mike Espeseth, co-chair of the communications committee of the Midge Tolerant Wheat Stewardship Team. A single gene, called Sm1, provides midge[...]
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Wheat stem sawfly.

Fields wanted for insect survey

Alberta Agriculture and Forestry is looking for pea and wheat fields for its 2018 insect survey. Teams will survey for pea leaf weevil in late spring, and for wheat midge and wheat stem sawfly in the fall after harvest. “We are looking for fields that producers would be happy to have us check. For allowing[...]
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Six tips for managing wheat stem sawfly

As with most pests, wheat stem sawfly populations rise and fall, depending on weather and the presence of natural predators. Economic losses arise when wheat stem sawfly larvae feed inside the stem. While some of those losses are due to decreased seed weight, much of it occurs when the stems are cut and the plant[...]
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Pea leaf weevil.

Pea leaf weevils an issue in 2018

Three insect forecast maps are now available at the Alberta Agriculture website. Wheat stem sawfly and wheat midge forecasts help producers make varietal decisions, said insect management specialist Scott Meers, adding, “we’ve also released the pea leaf weevil maps early because a lot of producers are seed treating for that pest.” Pea leaf weevils are[...]
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Fewer modes of action and active ingredients increase costs and make Canadian farmers less competitive, says critic.

Pesticide rules hurting farmers, says consultant

Producers north of the border have access to fewer modes of action and active ingredients

Canadian farmers are losing much-needed pest management products to red tape. “We’re losing products faster than we’re bringing them in,” said Ron Pidskalny, an Edmonton-based consultant with a background in herbicide development and agronomy. “We’re in a situation where we’re actually ending up with fewer active ingredients than we had before. “The tool box is[...]
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