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Outlook Crop Walks -- What’s going on out there?

By: Kaeley Kindrachuk, Regional Crops Specialist, Outlook SK

With the growing season so busy, it may be difficult for some producers to find the time to get to local field days in person. In that case, it may just be easier to turn to social media for information. The bi-weekly crop walks in Outlook offer a chance for producers near and far to see what is going on at the ICDC (Irrigation Crop Diversification Corporation) plots at the CSIDC (Canada-Saskatchewan Irrigation Diversification Centre) research station. The soggy early spring and strong winds made seeding a challenge for researchers this year. The crops had a late start and it took some time before we saw anything emerging in the plots.

Pea leaf weevil notching  on faba beans
Pea leaf weevil notching
on faba beans
As the seedlings advanced, we kept an eye out for early season insects such as flea beetles and cutworms. The cutworms did not damage the crops within the station, and it was even hard to find any substantial amounts of flea beetle feeding in any of the plots or fill areas, despite reports from local producers of major insect problems in some canola fields. Even the peas and faba beans had minimal pea leaf weevil feeding damage in them (see photo). We were surprised to see such low levels of feeding this year, as 2016 had exceptionally high levels of damage in the faba bean plots.

CSIDC has become a hub for all types of insect traps that the Ministry is monitoring for.. We collect sticky cards from two sets of swede midge traps in canola plots and broccoli plots. We also monitor for diamondback moths and bertha armyworm moths. The diamondback moth trap reported very low numbers from April 27 to June 21 and the trap for bertha armyworm moths also has low numbers so far this year.

We also swept some volunteer canola for cabbage seedpod weevils because the plots are further behind, and we found threshold numbers of three to four weevils per sweep. This was not a surprise, as the weevils have been at threshold numbers at the research station for a couple of years.

Stripe rust in winter wheat on variety trials
Stripe rust in winter wheat on variety trials
The only disease that we have found so far in any of the plots was stripe rust in the winter wheat. The plots are a variety trial for fall rye and winter wheat under both dryland and irrigated conditions. The rust was not at high levels, but was noted in several different varieties. Once rusts become visible, fungicide can be used. See the other reports of stripe rust in Saskatchewan in this issue’s stripe rust article  and the article that ran earlier this spring.

There is also a horticulture research program overseen by ICDC staff and Ministry of Agriculture Irrigation Agrologists. Demonstrations include varieties, water management and planting dates on fruit and vegetables.

To see what’s happening during a Crop Walk, follow @SKAgriculture and @ICDC_SK every second Tuesday morning from 10:30 to 11:30 on Twitter.  To see what happened in previous walks, search #cropwalk17.

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