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It’s Survey Season for the Ministry of Agriculture – Watch for us in your fields

The Ministry conducts some insect surveys with pheromone traps. The pheromone in these traps attracts a specific insect of interest and provides an early warning sign of how much of a problem that insect will be later in the growing season. Both the bertha armyworm survey and the diamondback survey use pheromone trapsBertha Armyworm Map for surveillance. Both of these insects have a number of host crops but the Ministry monitors their populations in canola because of this crops economic importance. The pheromones used in each of these surveys attract the adult moths of each species. The adults themselves do not cause damage to crops, but their population gives an indication of the number of damage causing larvae that will be around later on. Weekly maps are produced for the bertha armyworm survey starting at the beginning of June and continue until early August. You can see the July 18 map in figure 1. These maps should not be used to make decisions on spraying as they only show risk on a regional basis. It is extremely important to individually monitor each field for larvae before making a decision to spray insecticide. The bertha armyworm survey relies on cooperators around the province to set up traps to submit weekly counts. If you are interested in participating with the bertha armyworm survey for the 2019 growing season, please email pestsurveys@gov.sk.ca.

The Ministry supports the cabbage seedpod weevil survey by surveying canola fields for this pest. Cabbage seedpod weevils are monitored by taking sweeps with a sweep net. The weevils are then counted and the counts are later used to create a map that displays the distribution and abundance of the pest which provides an indication of their population for the next growing season.

The Ministry also leads a couple of canola disease surveys. The general canola disease survey has started and will continue until early September. This survey examines the presence, severity and distribution of all canola diseases including blackleg and sclerotinia stem rot.

The Ministry, with support from SaskCanola and the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities (SARM), is also conducting  an extensive clubroot survey in 2018. This survey will improve our understanding of the distribution and severity of clubroot in Saskatchewan. The survey will begin in mid-August and will continue through September. A total of 1800 fields will be surveyed each year, with one field located in each township across the survey area. In each field, plants will be up rooted to examine for the presence of clubroot symptoms (swelling and gall-like formation on the roots). Soil samples from the field entrance will also be collected to enable DNA-based testing for detection of the clubroot pathogen at low levels. The results of this survey will be used to develop a clubroot distribution map using the general location of clubroot infested fields. The specific location of clubroot infested fields will not be shared publicly, but will be used to notify the producer and/or landowner and shared with the appropriate rural municipality to enable them to fulfill their duties under The Pest Control Act. The Ministry is committed to a farmer-driven approach to clubroot management. As part of this approach, the producer will work with an agrologist registered with the Saskatchewan Association of Agrologists (SIA) to create a science-based clubroot management plan that meets the minimum requirements as listed in The Saskatchewan Clubroot Management Plan.

Pulse Surveys

The pea leaf weevil survey has been completed for 2018. This survey examines crop damage caused by adult pea leaf weevils. This data is compiled and used to create a forecast map for the following year.

The lentil disease survey is currently underway and will continue through early August. This survey determines the abundance and distribution of lentil diseases in the province.

Faba bean disease survey is another survey that the ministry supports by staff participating in field surveying. This survey is currently taking place and will continue through early August.

Ministry staff assists with the soybean phytophthora disease survey which is currently underway and will continue until mid-August.

Other Crop Surveys  

The Ministry will be assisting with the flax disease survey which will begin mid-August and will continue through August to the beginning of September. The presence of various flax diseases is examined including pasmo and fusarium wilt.

Field surveying for grasshoppers is carried out by Saskatchewan Crop Insurance Corporation staff. This survey examines the population of grasshoppers throughout the province. The data compiled from this survey is used to create a forecast map that helps producers assess risk of this pest in their region.

Cereal disease field surveying is conducted by Saskatchewan Crop insurance. Heads of wheat, barley and oats are collected. These will be sent to the Crop Protection Lab in Regina to determine the severity of fusarium head blight (FHB) infection and to identify the Fusarium species associated with the FHB infection. Leaves of the cereal crops are also collected and sent to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and Crop Diversification Center pathologists to assess for disease severity and to identify the prevalence of specific diseases and causal organisms. This survey is currently ongoing.

The Ministry is also involved in the wheat midge survey. This survey does not start until mid-September and continues until late November. Soil samples are collected and are later examined for the presence of wheat midge pupae. The data is then used to create a forecast map for the following year.

With all of this surveying going on, we appreciate the support of producers. So when you see us in the field, please come say hello and we would be more than happy to provide you details of the survey we are conducting. The intent of these surveys is to provide Saskatchewan producers with another tool for managing pests whether it is through forecast maps are providing researchers information in order to make further developments in pest management for producers to use.


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