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Mid-season Pest Surveys

By Carter Peru, Integrated Pest Management Agrologist

July 2020

Survey season is well under way with some insect surveys already complete or ongoing and many disease surveys beginning. Insect and disease pest surveys are important to monitor existing pest populations, as well as detecting new crop pests. Data collected during surveying is used to support research, create forecast maps and detect changes in pest pressure, ultimately helping producers to make informed decisions.

The diamondback moth monitoring program has wrapped up for the year and the most recent update from the pheromone-based traps has been posted. Then main objective of this survey is to detect the arrival of diamondback moths. Diamondback moths do not overwinter in significant numbers in Canada, which is why detecting the arrival of diamondback moths is key to providing an early warning of a possible infestation. Diamondback moth counts from the pheromone traps varied throughout the province. Some areas have very low diamondback moth counts and others areas, including parts of the northwest and southwest, have very high counts.

The bertha armyworm survey is underway and will continue into early August. Thanks to the network of cooperators who monitor traps to support this survey, there are over 250 pheromone based traps in Saskatchewan. Bertha armyworm moth counts are sent in weekly and are used to create cumulative moth count maps. These maps are updated weekly starting in early July. In additional the cumulative moth count maps, the Prairie Pest Monitoring Network uses a model to predict pupal development of bertha armyworm. The model shows that emergence of bertha armyworm moths (adults) varies throughout the province. The emergence of bertha armyworm moths is highly dependent on temperature. The weekly cumulative moth counts can be found on the Bertha Armyworm Map page, as well as further details on bertha armyworm and interpreting the cumulative moth counts maps.

The chickpea root rot survey is a new survey that the ministry is participating in this year, which is being led by the University of Saskatchewan. During this survey, plants will be rated for above ground plant health and samples will be collected for testing at the University of Saskatchewan. Root rot samples collected during the survey will be molecularly assessed to determine the causal pathogens. This will help gain a better understanding of the increase in root rots observed in chickpeas in recent years and gain a better understanding of the pathogens that cause root rot in chickpeas.

Chick pea with root rot
Photo 1: Chickpea plant with root rot symptoms

The lentil disease survey is another important crop disease survey taking place this year. During this survey, plants are assessed for diseases including anthracnose, root rot, sclerotinia, botrytis and ascochyta. The primary objective of this survey is to monitor changes in disease levels in Saskatchewan lentil crops. Monitoring changes in disease levels is an effective way to detect if there are changes in pathogen population that allows the pathogen to overcome genetic resistance. Monitoring for these changes is especially important for ascochyta blight in lentils. Anthracnose is another important disease that is monitored for during the lentil disease survey. This year, samples will be collected and will be tested by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada for Group 11 (Strobilurin) fungicide insensitivity. Group 11 insensitive anthracnose was confirmed in some Saskatchewan lentil fields. Samples collected during the lentil disease survey will help increase the understanding of ascochyta insensitivity in the province.

The general canola disease survey will also continue this year. Approximately 200 field will be surveyed throughout the province. Surveyors look for symptoms of diseases such as blackleg, sclerotinia, clubroot, aster yellows, alternaria and many other disease during the survey. During this survey, samples are taken to help support research and gain a deeper understanding of canola diseases. For example, blackleg samples are taken and sent to Agriculture an Agri-Food Canada for pathotype testing to help monitor and detect changes in the pathogen populations.

Many pest surveys, including the surveys discussed above, would not be possible without the support of producers who allow ministry and survey partners access to enter their land. Producers can use the online form to grant access to your lands for pest surveys. More information on the importance of surveys and how the data collected is used can be viewed on our pest management page.

There are many more insect and disease pest surveys that are taking place this growing season.

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