What to Watch For

We are on the downhill side of crop production this season and the list of things that you can do something about in your fields in getting shorter. Going to the lake may be an option, but the fields must be looked at to ensure that we hit the yield potential that is out there. The potential for disease still exists. The ability to do something about it is limited. Two main issues come into to play when looking at disease this time of year. First off, if the crop is showing extensive damage, the likelihood of being able to do anything about it is minimal. Even if you could do something about the problem, the plants cannot repair the damage that has been done. The second issue of concern is the pre-harvest intervals required for most fungicides. Each pest control product has restrictions on how soon before harvest that they can be applied. We have past the most pre-harvest intervals for most of our fungicides, so spraying is not an option. If disease pressure is high in a field it is worth noting. The reason why it may be important is that from a crop rotation point of view, knowing that was high levels of disease present in a field should impact seeding decisions for the next few years. Insects can be a problem this time of year. With canola, we have the potential for grasshoppers, bertha armyworm, lygus bugs and diamond-back larvae to show up. Surveys have been done in the prairie provinces and the potential for these bugs to be a problem seems to be low. There could be problems in specific fields as well as areas in the prairies. The only way to be certain that you do not have problems with these insects is to have a look. A sweep net does the best job when it comes to looking for insects. With cereal crops, aphids and grasshoppers are the bugs that could still cause damage. Aphids cause color change in the crop as well as stunted growth. Grasshoppers chew off tissue. If grasshoppers chew on the flag leaf or are feeding in the head of the cereal plants, control measures should be looked at. Check stress areas in the field because it seems it is easier to see insect problems. Look for damaged tissue present on plants to see if there is any damage to the plants. Look for plants that have honeydew on the stems or leaves. If an insect does damage to a plant, the plant will produce a liquid that is part of the plant healing process. If your pants become damp and sticky after walking into a field, it is likely there is some insect feeding going on. There are some excellent fields out in the country. Watching for any issues that can show up in the next couple of months will put more bushels in your bin.


By Dave Cubbon, P Ag