By Top Crop Manager
The Alberta Wheat Commission (AWC) is hosting weekly webinars from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. MDT on Wednesdays during the growing season to connect farmers with industry experts. The “In the Field” webinar series is run by Jeremy Boychyn, AWC agronomy research extension specialist, and Brian Kennedy, AWC grower relations and extension manager.
Each week, a different industry expert – often agriculture researchers – gives a short presentation on an agronomic topic with practical use for farmers. Farmers are able to submit questions throughout the presentation that the speaker will answer.
Last week’s webinar featured Boyd Mori, an assistant professor in the faculty of Agricultural, Life and Environmental Sciences at the University of Alberta, providing a forecast of the insect pests to keep an eye on in 2020. Mori mentioned that producers can expect hot spots of wheat stem sawfly populations; wheat midge isn’t expected to be a problem.
Grasshoppers pose a moderate to severe problem in southern Alberta if environmental conditions are favourable, but the Peace Region will likely not have grasshopper issues. Bruner’s spur-throat grasshopper (Melanoplus bruneri) are thought to have a two-year life cycle, and since populations were high in 2019, this year is predicted to be low risk.
Mori also noted that wireworms are on the rise due to the loss of insecticides that can kill them. However, an insecticide set to be registered next year, broflanilide, is said to kill wireworms. The Group 30 insecticide could be a game-changer if it can live up to this claim, Mori said.
For resources that provide insect pest updates throughout the season, Mori mentioned the Alberta Insect Pest Monitoring Network, the Prairie Pest Monitoring Network, Field Heroes and the provincial governmental agriculture websites. Boychyn also noted that those on Twitter can participate in #abbugchat every Wednesday at 10 a.m. during the growing season.
Recordings of previous In the Field webinars can be found on the Alberta Wheat Commission website. The next webinar will take place tomorrow, May 27, and features Ross McKenzie, formerly of Alberta Agriculture and Forestry, discussing in-crop nitrogen applications.