The best place to learn is in the field

Saskatchewan Agriculture produces pest forecast maps each year to help guide producers and agronomists

Kaeley Kindrachuk,
Regional Crops Specialist
Outlook, Sask.

With seeding mostly complete in Saskatchewan, agronomists and producers are busy in the fields ensuring that the crops are growing as they should. However, it is still early in the season, and there are many things to be on the lookout for. Saskatchewan Agriculture produces pest forecast maps each year and posts them online to help guide producers and agronomists’ scouting efforts.

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Data is collected throughout the growing season by specialists and industry agronomists surveying for insects and plant diseases. The maps are currently being updated weekly to show Diamondback Moth numbers throughout the province. The Bertha Armyworm Moth traps will be put up in fields the first week of June, and the weekly map will start to be generated mid-month until canola flowering is complete. These maps are produced as tools; fields should still be monitored as moths can lay their eggs in different fields. The plant disease surveys will start in late July with the lentil disease survey. Shortly after that, the canola disease survey will start in August.

While fields are monitored regularly throughout the growing season, conditions favoring different crop pests can change quickly and much of the insect and disease activity can depend on the weather. Seedlings have been susceptible to many stresses already this year, such as insect feeding, heat stress, frost, and in some cases, hail. Correctly identifying what causes certain damage and then taking the appropriate action can be difficult at times, especially if there is more than one culprit. It can be hard to compare what is seen in the field to what a resource book would show. Another challenge to consider is that scouting for different pests can differ from one another. Looking in the right places, when there are so many things to look for, can be time consuming. Knowing what to do can save time when out in the field.

To help agronomists and producers make these difficult decisions, Saskatchewan Agriculture is hosting Crop Diagnostic School again this summer. With six stations to rotate through, participants can expect to get a broad look at all aspects of crop scouting. Whether the concern is spraying herbicides to planting something different, there is much to learn in the field. The 2018 Crop Diagnostic School will be held at the Northeast Agricultural Research Foundation (NARF) in Melfort on July 24 or 25. The school will feature the following stations:

  • Weed ID and Management
  • Disease Identification
  • Sprayer Application Technology
  • Insect Scouting and ID
  • Environmental Damage
  • New Crops

Registration for the summer event is open now online at www.prairiecca.ca.

For more information, contact your nearest Crops Extension Specialist or visit www.saskatchewan.ca/agriculture to view the most recent pest forecast maps.

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