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Editorial: Prepping, plowing and planting

July 17, 2023  By Derek Clouthier

It’s that time of year again when the daily life of a farmer starts to get busier and busier. Whether it’s plowing, applying herbicides or insecticides, testing soil, tool maintenance or getting seed in the ground, there are plenty of things farmers need to stay on top of to ensure a quality yield later in the year.

Weather also plays a big role for farmers, and so far, May has been a warm one in Western Canada, way above seasonal averages with temperatures in the mid to high 20s early in the month. According to the Farmers’ Almanac, we’ll see much more rain as May goes on – 90mm to be exact, 40mm above the monthly average. June, however, typically a wet month in the Prairies, will see cooler temperatures and precipitation numbers 20mm below the norm.

As the summer progresses, July is expected to be fairly normal when it comes to temperature and precipitation, August will be wetter than usual and September will see much more rain than the historical average.


So, what kind of pests can farmers expect if June and July are drier than usual and that is followed by a damp August and September?

Well, as we know, grasshoppers are a concern in hot, dry conditions, as are aphids and spider mites. So, we can certainly expect to see an increase in grasshopper numbers if the drier forecast is correct for June and July.

One of the benefits of wet weather, which we might see later this summer, is that many insects, particularly those that spend time underground, can’t survive if there is too much precipitation, as they essentially drown from lack of oxygen. That being said, soil pests like slugs love wet, cool conditions, and can thrive in such an environment. And, temperature plays a role as well. Wireworms, for example, can be controlled with flooding if temperatures are high, but not as much when it’s cooler.

A key benefit to a drier spring would be that it is an ideal to apply herbicides to control weeds. Weed management is essential for various reasons, one being the fact that some insect pests are attracted to certain weeds, meaning growers will have two issues to overcome if weeds are left to flourish.

In this issue, we have included our Pre-harvest Weed Control and Desiccants guide for farmers looking to get weeds under control while maximizing crop yields and potential quality. The guide outlines the products, active ingredient, herbicide group, benefits and cautions growers must take depending on the crop they are planting, whether that be cereals, pulses, oilseeds or another.

So, with longer days comes longer hours for our farmers, and while most of us will be enjoying our summer vacations and the kids a two-month break from school, growers will be hard at work – and we thank you for that. 


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