GFM Network News


Phase-out of strychnine proposed

Health Canada is proposing to end the use of strychnine for killing ground squirrels. The proposal comes out of a scientific review of the poison, the federal department said. “An evaluation of available scientific information confirmed that there are risks of concern for non-target organisms, including species at risk, for products registered to control ground […] Read more

Website identifies your insect friends

WGRF works with Prairie Pest Monitoring Network to develop online and social media sites


Not all heroes wear capes. That’s the message behind a new communications campaign to increase awareness of some unsung heroes — beneficial insects. Recently launched by Western Grains Research Foundation (WGRF), the ‘Field Heroes’ campaign encourages growers and agronomists to consider beneficial insects in crop production recommendations and decisions. “Beneficial insects play a vital pest […] Read more



Assessing the threat from a weed starts with identifying it. For example, whitlow grass (left) isn’t a big threat, but scentless chamomile (right) is, says provincial crop specialist Harry Brook. photos: wiki commons

Know your enemy and its destructive potential, says provincial crop specialist

There’s a critical window for controlling weeds, but it depends on both the crop 
and the threat posed by individual species

All crops have a critical weed control period when they are most susceptible to significant yield loss from weed competition. The critical weed control period for canola is around 17 to 38 days after emergence. Peas can be as early as two weeks after emergence. “Other, more competitive crops, like the cereals, have a less […] Read more


The flower of field scabious is pretty but the weed can invade hayfields and other grassy areas and be widely dispersed via baled forage.

Don’t be fooled by this weed’s pretty flower

Noxious weeds: Field scabious

Field scabious was introduced as an ornamental from Europe and is now taking over roadsides and pastures. It can be found throughout central Alberta and has the ability to invade even undisturbed plant communities, such as hayfields. Once established it is very difficult to control. Flowers can be a purple- to blue-coloured clustered head, resembling […] Read more

Concerned about the upcoming phase-out of Imidacloprid?

Health Canada plans to ban the neonicotinoid in three to five years, but is first consulting farm groups and growers

Neonicotinoids could be harmful to aquatic insects — and that has sealed the fate for one version of the pesticide. Following a review, Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) has proposed phasing out Imidacloprid over the next three to five years. “Our re-evaluation found no risk for human health,” said Scott Kirby, director general […] Read more


Learn about the good bugs

A March 23 workshop will address how biocontrols can fit into an integrated pest management plan to help in greenhouse growing operations. “Biologicals are huge right now in greenhouse production and we’re seeing people introduce them and monitor them carefully for pests but at the same time aren’t quite sure where to take it from […] Read more

Prevention is the best cure when managing greenhouse pests

Greenhouse crop growers need to start with clean cuttings, prevent infestations, 
and monitor pest levels to guarantee a successful biocontrol program

For greenhouse crop growers, moving away from chemical pest control to biological controls can be a big investment — but one that’s worth it, if done right. “You have to change your mindset from pesticides to biocontrol,” said Veronica Cervantes, technical adviser at Biobest USA. “The first year you start your biocontrol program is the […] Read more


After confirming herbicide-resistant wild oats in a field, Jay Schultz plans to diversify his crop and chemical rotations.

A bad year for crops has been a good one for weeds

Dry conditions have allowed weeds — including 
herbicide-resistant ones — to thrive in many fields

Although dry conditions made weed control a challenge during the 2015 growing season, late-summer moisture and an early harvest may give farmers a decent chance to control perennial weeds. “I’ve heard it said that 80 to 90 per cent of successful weed elimination comes from a competitive crop,” said Matt Gosling, an agronomist in the […] Read more

A healthy, flowering rapeseed plant.

Neonics ban results in bug damage to crops

Rapeseed crops show damage four weeks after planting


Reuters – Rapeseed crops in Germany are suffering unusually high levels of insect damage this autumn following the European Union’s ban on neonics, says the German farming association DBV. Some farmers may suffer lower yields in the upcoming 2015 rapeseed harvest, it said. The EU has decided to restrict neonicotinoids which have been linked to […] Read more