Farmers still have a bit of time to evaluate their fields for levels of grubs and wireworms, two key pests that will factor in to the need for a neonicotinoid pesticide seed treatment. And that’s good news, because the deadline to ordering fungicide-only corn seed is rapidly approaching. Most companies have a mid- to late-November cut off (call your local rep to find out!).

It’s estimated that about 30% of Ontario’s corn and soybean acres meet the economic criteria for applying a neonicotinoid seed treatment, says Tracey Baute, field crop entomologist with Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. But how do you know WHICH 30% of acres are at risk and most likely need the protection offered by the insecticide treatment?

Related: Mandate letter to OMAFRA calls for “meaningful reduction” in neonic use by 2015

To determine that, OMAFRA has rolled out two worksheets — one each for corn and soybeans — and has posted an informative presentation on what insects are controlled by neonics, what risk factors increase the economic impact of these pests and how to determine which acres can benefit from a neonic-seed treatment and which could be planted to fungicide-only treated seed.

In this Corn School episode, Baute explains how farmers can use the worksheets to whittle down their acres to the total number that can go fungicide-only. She also discusses what farmers should be doing now and into the spring to evaluate their risk of insect damage, and how spring weather can impact pest damage (or not), and why, if you’re not sure as to which call to make, leaving check strips of fungicide-only crop can pay dividends down the road.

Follow this link to download the Pest Evaluation Checklist for Corn.

Follow this link to download the Pest Evaluation Checklist for Soybean.

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