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Top Crop West Editorial: Mid-March 2019

Amp up your scouting game


May 3, 2019
By Stefanie Croley

We’ve heard the age-old proverb about the month of March’s weather forecast for years: “in like a lion, out like a lamb.” But the Farmer’s Almanac – a long-trusted source for weather predictions, moon dates and much more – has a few other March-related sayings that apply to farming too. Some examples, like, “A dry March and a wet May? Fill barns and bays with corn and hay,” and, “As it rains in March, so it rains in June,” were new to me. But others, such as, “March winds and April showers bring forth May flowers,” are more familiar.

All clichéd sayings aside, it’s safe to say the insect and disease pressure to come this growing season will depend more than ever on what Mother Nature brings. Although weather has always had a significant impact on the level of insect pressure during a growing season, experts are predicting weather patterns emerging from the United States will bring more problems this year than before.

Take the diamondback moth, for example. John Gavloski, the Manitoba provincial entomologist, recently spoke to writer Julienne Isaacs about the difficult canola pest and its overwintering habits. The pest doesn’t overwinter well in Canada, and its short life cycle makes it tricky to manage. Gavloski says the diamondback moth blows back in to Canada every summer from winds from the southern United States. While this typically happens every year, a recent report from Farm Credit Canada says extreme weather conditions seen in 2019, including excessive wind powers coming from the Mississippi River Valley, may exacerbate the number of pests seen in fields this spring and summer, and the uncertainty of the timing and location of these pests will make scouting and monitoring more important than ever before. You can read more about the diamondback moth, as well as scouting tips and management practices from Gavloski and other experts, on page 14.

And while you’re scouting your canola, be sure to keep an eye out for the Contarinia midge, a newly identified and named midge discovered on canola in the Canadian Prairies. Commonly called the canola flower midge, research suggests the pest has been present for some time but managed to stay under the radar. You can read more about this potential threat on page 26.

The Mid-March issue of Top Crop Manager West traditionally follows the theme of pests and diseases, and this issue is no different. Besides the two aforementioned stories, this edition is filled with the latest pest management and disease research to help you prepare for what this season might bring. Whether the Almanac and all of those proverbial quotes are right or wrong this year, we hope your growing season kicks off on the right foot.


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