Category: Beneficial Insects

Soybean School: Taking a closer look at soybean aphid thresholds

The combination of increased soybean acres and high soybean aphid pressure on the prairies in 2017 has sparked conversations about thresholds, beneficial insects, and how to decide when spraying is warranted. The economic threshold for soybean aphids in Canada has traditionally been 250 aphids per plant on 80 percent of plants, with the population still… Read more »

Wheat School: Putting a value on the “unpaid army”

Beneficial insects provide free labour in the field, preying on insect pests, but what is that labour worth? Because we don’t know the economic value of most of these insects, they don’t necessarily get factored into the decision to go ahead with spraying an insecticide. Finding economic values for the work these beneficial bugs are… Read more »

Soybean School: Painted lady caterpillar dines on thistle and soybeans

The painted lady caterpillar, also known as the thistle caterpillar, is typically something pulse growers in Western Canada have seen as a beneficial insect. This is because it feeds on Canada thistle. However, as seen in 2017, the painted lady caterpillar also likes to chew on soybeans, causing leaf damage and potential yield losses. In… Read more »

Pulse School: A look at how pulses are faring in dry conditions

Mother Nature has given the prairies many different crop conditions this year, and Saskatchewan is no exception to this rule. For the most part, Saskatchewan pulse growers are seeing very dry conditions, although this has helped keep disease levels down, notes Sherrilyn Phelps, agronomy specialist with Saskatchewan Pulse Growers, in this latest Pulse School episode…. Read more »

Wheat School: Can you do more to control fusarium?

Are you looking to step up your fusarium control measures this spring? In this episode of RealAgriculture Wheat School, resident agronomist Peter Johnson reviews the basics of managing fusarium in Ontario’s wheat crop and also offers some tips on how growers can elevate their control efforts. For Johnson, effective fusarium control starts with the basics:… Read more »

Reduce Runoff with Reservoir Tillage

There’s a new conservation tillage practice in town. Move over no-till, reduced till and strip till, here comes reservoir tillage. The RT850 reservoir tillage tool from Minnesota-based Willmar Fabrication is designed to run between crop rows and make depressions in the ground using 10-inch teeth to create better water infiltration and reduce runoff. “You’re just… Read more »

Soybean School: Refining the Soybean Aphid Threshold to Factor in Friendly Bugs

When soybean aphids start multiplying in soybean fields, the decision to spray is typically triggered by the number of aphids found on each plant. The threshold for growers in Western Canada is usually reached when there are an average of 250 aphids per plant on 80 percent of the plants. The population should still be… Read more »

Corn School: How Do Tillers Impact Yield?

When you see two tillers growing out of a corn root you may suspect the wannabe plants are stealing nutrients from the main stalk, along with yield potential. But that’s not the case, explains Pride Seeds’ market agronomist Aaron Stevanus on this episode of Real Agriculture Corn School. “Tillers are actually a good thing. It… Read more »

Honey Nut Cheerios’ Buzz is Disappearing, But Honeybees Are Not

“The world’s bee population is in crisis and Honey Nut Cheerios is coming to the rescue, minus its perky mascot.” — Toronto Star, March 15, 2016 Move over Kathleen Wynne and Glen Murray. There’s a new saviour of bees in town. General Mills Canada announced last week “Buzz” the honeybee will disappear from its Honey… Read more »

Entomologist Recommends Proactive Approach to Neonics on the Prairies

Regulatory restrictions are not on the radar in Manitoba, but the province’s agriculture entomologist suggests farmers in Western Canada should ask themselves “why?” before using neonicotinoid seed treatments. The Ontario and Quebec governments are restricting the use of insecticide-treated seed in response to concerns about neonics hurting bee health, but there haven’t been the same problems with pollinator populations… Read more »

Grain Farmers of Ontario’s Request of Stay Regarding Neonic Regs Gets Court Date

The Grain Farmers of Ontario have received a court date regarding its case requesting a stay of the Ontario government’s new regulations limiting access to neonicotinoid-treated corn and soybean seed. The regulations came into force as of July 1, 2015. The case will be heard September 28th, 2015, says GFO. If a stay is granted,… Read more »

Bee Health Bounce: Canadian Overwintering Losses Average 15.9% for 2014/15

Canadian honeybee overwintering numbers are in for the 2014/15 season, and the results show a strong start to the 2015 year. Representing over 360,000 honey colonies (over half of all colonies in the country), the Canadian Association of Professional Apiculturists (CAPA) says that its survey of 443 beekeepers pegs the Canadian average of overwintering loss… Read more »

Canola School: When a Better-Safe-Than-Sorry Insecticide Pass Makes Matters Worse

As a diverse set of volunteers in the agriculture industry, it’s hard to assign a worth to the work beneficial insects accomplish, but their absence can speak volumes, if you’re listening. To showcase that, Jim Broatch, pest management specialist with Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development, talks root maggots in this Canola School, and how an insecticide application… Read more »

Did Farmers Just Save the Bees Before Glen Murray Could?

The Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) has tallied up the in-season bee death numbers for both 2014 and 2015 (planting only), and the numbers are nothing short of staggering. The PMRA recently reported to the federal bee health roundtable that during the planting period there was roughly a 70% decrease in the number of reported… Read more »

Grain Farmers Urged to Seek Signed Agreements with Beekeepers in Effort to Reduce Liability

The Grain Farmers of Ontario have sought legal advice on behalf of its members and have words of caution for farmers: do not allow beekeepers on your land without a waiver of liability. GFO has contacted members with guidance following concerns that surround possible liability issues with hosting beekeepers’ livestock on their land, the group… Read more »