Questions of the Week

How to balance seeding well despite time pressure?

With initial seeding deadlines now only a couple weeks away, pressure is mounting to get seeds into the ground, especially in slow-to-dry areas. Use the time while waiting for fields to dry to ensure equipment is prepped for optimal seeding. There is still time for proper seeding: broadcast seeding is not yet recommended. However, if floating in canola might ultimately be required, pre-think an appropriately protected fertilizer that can be applied alongside. (Fertilizer product choices) (Broadcast seeding canola tips) Whether late seeding is due to excess moisture or to cutworms/crusting forcing reseeding, take time to seed right: you have just one opportunity to start the crop well. Are shorter season varieties worth considering if too few days remain in the growing window for your preferred varieties? (Management practices for optimal emergence) (Eight practices to maximize canola seed survival)

How best to tackle weeds now?

Excess moisture, windy conditions and the pressure to seed mean weeds haven’t yet been effectively controlled in all fields. Early weed control is the best option economically. Because waiting to spray until pre-emergence or in-crop mean weeds will be bigger and harder to control, get in and spray as soon as possible. If a burn-off doesn’t occur before the crop emerges, the crop will be in a significant yield loss situation and timely in-crop weed control is critical. If field access remains a challenge due to moisture, it may be necessary to move from two herbicide passes to one. Use the one-pass opportunity well, optimizing efficacy through rate, tank mix partners and spraying early. This article provides recommendations for achieving good weed control when spraying conditions are challenging.

What’s notable for insects this week?

  • Cutworms: There are increasing reports of cutworms feeding across a broad geographic area, with some reseeding necessary. If significant numbers appear, please help track cutworm distribution by sending in the location and species identification here or directly to the Prairie Pest Monitoring Network here. (Cutworms: timely scouting and spray decisions)
  • Diamondback moth: Though catches are geographically broad, diamondback moth levels are only moderate for now. Continue to scout.

What’s ahead for grasshoppers?

Last year’s provincial survey results maps showed high levels of grasshoppers across the Prairies. That, together with nearly ideal conditions for egg laying last fall, mean the grasshopper forecast for this growing season is notably high. Hatching is now being reported across a broad geographic area, which is more typical timing than last year’s very early emergence. While cool weather slows development, it won’t have a killing impact on eggs, though high humidity could reduce numbers somewhat by increasing fungal infection in nymphs. Scout carefully. The Prairie Pest Monitoring Network recommends this grasshopper monitoring protocol. Until now, the threshold for spraying has been 10-12 adult grasshoppers/meter2. Saskatchewan’s Provincial Insect Specialist, Dr. James Tansey, reports that a new threshold – this time for nymphs at 30-45/meter2 —is under discussion. (Label update for lambda-cyhalothrin)