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

Watch for yellow or brown leaves on elms

If elms on your property are in autumn mode already, they may be infected with Dutch elm disease (DED). “Symptoms of DED infection are leaves initially wilting followed by curling, turning yellow, and then brown,” said Janet Feddes-Calpas, executive director of the Society to Prevent Dutch Elm Disease. “This is also referred to as flagging. […] Read more


Adult beetles have a distinctive metallic green sheen.

Deadly pest marching towards Alberta’s borders

The emerald ash borer has travelled halfway across the continent and has now reached Manitoba

Another highly destructive invasive pest has breached the boundary of the eastern Prairies and Albertans are being asked to keep watch — and not unwittingly aid its spread. The emerald ash borer, which attacks and kills all species of ash, was found in Winnipeg this winter. The beetle is on a steady invasive march across […] Read more

More than 140,000 seed packets have been given out through the Proud to Bee a 4-H’er initiative.

Bees benefit from 4-H Canada pollinator program

It’s been another banner year for the the Proud to Bee a 4-H’er initiative. The 2018 edition of the program saw 135 4-H clubs from across the country participating and about 15,000 seed packets distributed. “It is wonderful each year to see the level of excitement and engagement our members have with this initiative,” said […] 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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White pine weevils target the leader, or top branch, of young spruce trees.

Keep watch for insects that attack trees

There are a number of pests that harm trees, including yellow-headed spruce sawfly, spider mites, and white pine weevils

There are several insects that affect trees that you should keep an eye out for this year. “The yellow-headed spruce sawfly has been a problem for spruce the last few years, as well as spider mites,” said provincial agro-forestry specialist Toso Bozic. “White pine weevils have also been a problem for young spruce trees, as[...]
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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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