When it comes to talking insects — like many other aspects of agriculture — the threat level can be quite regional.
What are the weather conditions like? What’s the soil type like? What’s tillage like? What’s the rotation history? The list goes on and on.
Wireworms are no different. However, as discussed on the April 4th episode of The Agronomists, there are some management strategies that producers need to keep in mind for this pest.
When looking at cereal crops in Western Canada, the key to wireworm management is having an integrated pest management (IPM) strategy — where the farmer looks at tackling the pest from several different directions.
Shad Milligan, seedcare technical lead with Syngenta, says that for many areas, it comes down to knowing your fields, and being aware if you are in an area that is known for wireworm populations.
“It comes down to ‘I know I have a problem, I need to protect my investment of the genetics in there, so I’m going to protect that with an insecticide seed treatment.’ That’s option one,” Milligan explains. “You can stretch that out to longer rotations. The cover crop idea is becoming a lot more of a reality in today’s farming practices, so I think adding that diversity in there is going to add that control.”
Like many agronomic issues, it boils down to a simple yet key technique, says Milligan — getting out there and scouting, and being as proactive as you can, even the year before.
One of the ways you can do this is through a click beetle trap, since the wireworm is actually the larval stage of the click beetle.
“If you know you’re growing a cereal crop in a certain field the year prior, this is a very easy investment to go ahead and do,” explains Milligan. “It draws into the adult wireworm/click beetle quite extensively. It’s a simple time saver. It won’t quantify how many wireworms you have in the field, but it will tell you the species, and it will tell you that you have something, so you can start to manage, and get your game plan ready for that following year if you are planting a cereal crop in there.”
Want to hear more? Listen to the full discussion on the t0pic during this episode of The Agronomists!