Red Deer County News

Posted on: September 14, 2017

PEST SCOUTING WHILE SWATHING

Clubroot 1.jpg

Like many people, stepping into your crop field must mean there is work to be done – or almost, and making additional trips to the field for crop pest inspections often can be hard to schedule in between all the other work.

One solution that many farmers are finding helpful is doing pest inspections while in the vantage point of the swather. While most small infestations may not be easily detected from above, large infestations most definitely will be for pests like Clubroot and Fusarium Head Blight (FHB) alike – two of Red Deer County’s most concerning and damaging crop pests.

Starting at the entrance of the field, this is the most likely site where an initial infestation could occur. Don’t forget to jump out of your equipment to randomly pull plants while driving through the field, looking for visual signs of variation in the crop. This can be prevalent in many forms; color variation, plant health, yield loss, attracting other pests, etc.

Clubroot infestations start with galling on the roots of canola and other cruciferous plants. These galls choke out the plant then decay and spread. For FHB, looking for a ring of pink or salmon color at the base of the florets may be an indication of this disease. Another indication of FHB are partially filled seeds throughout the infected spikelets, or shrivelled grains that appear tan to white with traces of pink on the seeds.

When an infection or infestation may be apparent sending crop samples to a local lab may be the only way to truly confirm the pest. When a pest has been found it’s important to take control measures not only to reduce the impact on your crop yields but also to reduce the spread of the pest to other crops and fields in the area.

For more information on Crop Pest Scouting, contact Agricultural Services at 403.342.8654 or agriculture@rdcounty.ca.

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