The decision to spray for aphids in cereal crops is complicated, as it requires not only scouting for and estimating aphid populations at a given moment, but predicting how those numbers will change due to weather and natural predators.
The Cereal Aphids Manager App currently in development through Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada aims to help growers and agronomists make a more informed decision by incorporating natural enemies, plant staging and other factors into a model.
As Tyler Wist, field crop entomologist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada in Saskatoon, explains in this Wheat School episode, it “tries to predict a build-up of aphid populations, but the unique thing about this model is that it also talks about the impact of beneficial insects have on keeping those aphids down.”
With pictures and descriptions, the app will explain how to scout for different aphid pests and beneficial insects, such as lady beetles, hover fly larvae and lacewings, at different stages in their life cycles.
“We are looking for the English grain aphids, the bird cherry-oat aphid, sometimes the green bug aphid — that’s all going to be included in there,” says Wist.
“So when you get to a field and you tell it that you are in a wheat field, it’s going to ask you what stage your wheat is at, and so you’re going to know what the Zadoks stage is. And if it’s Zadoks stage 85 or above, that soft dough stage, aphids can’t hurt your field anymore, and so the app will say ‘hey, go home, don’t worry about it’,” he explains, for example.
The Cereal Aphid Manager App will be available for both Android and iPhone operating systems, says Wist.
To learn more about the app, check out this video that was filmed at CanolaPalooza in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.
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