Wheat School: Smart(phone) help for cereal aphid scouting

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Agriculture and Agri-food Canada (AAFC) has, until now, never developed an app. Until now, that is, with the launch of a new app called CAM.

The Cereal Aphid Manager (CAM) is the first app ever developed by AAFC. Dale Leftwich, RealAgriculture’s Saskatchewan field editor, met with Tyler Wist, field crop entomology research scientist with AAFC, to talk about what CAM is and what it can do.

Wist explains, “What it does is help you scout for cereal aphids in your fields. It’s meant for agronomists, it’s meant for producers. The real key to this app is that it takes the beneficial insects that control those cereal aphids and works them into an equation called the dynamic action threshold,” he says. (Story continues below)

The dynamic action threshold takes into account three main variables from the information that is gathered in the field. The first is the number of aphids, then, how many beneficial insects are present, and, lastly, the growth stage of the plant. For handy reference, the app contains pictures both of the aphids that feed on the crops and the beneficial insects that feed on the aphids.

Once the field is scouted and the data is loaded, the threshold is calculated and then the recommended action is determined. Or, in other words, anyone can use the app to come up with the best management practice and best possible outcome.

The development of this app came as a result of AAFC’s Pest Management Centre (PMC) requesting the app and providing the funding. It is hoped that this is just the beginning of apps like this, and that as further scouting needs are discovered more apps can be developed and made available.

More information is available at this Government of Canada website. You can visit your favourite app store to download the app for either iPhone or Android devices.

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