Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) and Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) have been working together to study the potential of trajectories for monitoring insect movements since the late 1990s.
Jennifer Otani, Ross Weiss, Serge Trudel, Tamara Rounce, Erl Svendsen, Kelly Turkington, Owen Olfert and Meghan Vankosky
The phenology models used to predict insect staging and associated risk to field crops on the Prairies is a complex system with multiple moving parts. Last week, phenology model output and map development was not available owing to the detection of an error in one of the underlying datasets required to run the models. We are pleased to report that the error has been resolved for this week.
At this moment, segments of earlier 2020 Weekly Updates have been pulled back. The phenology models for Wk01 and Wk02 will be reposted once we have had opportunity to re-run the models with the correct datasets and re-map the model outputs. Stay tuned and thank you for your patience!
This week’s Insect of the Week feature crops are chickpea and lentil and Erl Svendsen is our feature ‘entomologist.’
Lentils (green, red, black beluga, French green, Spanish brown) and chickpeas (desi, kabuli) are important Prairie crops introduced to the region in the 1970s and 1980s. These crops are good options to include in your rotation. Except for a few acres in Ontario, lentils and chickpeas are grown in Alberta and Saskatchewan, with Saskatchewan accounting for 90% of production. In 2019, lentils were grown on 1.5 million hectares (3.8 million acres) and yielded 2.2 metric tonnes (2.4 US tons). Chickpeas were grown on 160,000 hectares (390,000 acres) and yielded 250,000 metric tonnes (280,000 US tons). Over 70% of production is exported.
How do you contribute in insect monitoring or surveillance on the Prairies?
Full disclosure: I am not an entomologist by any stretch of the imagination. But much of my recent work was been to support the communications efforts by the real entomologists of the network. I was the co-lead for the Cereal Aphid Manager app, and have edited done the layout and design of the recent insect field guides. More recently, I’ve been working with a great team to develop the new PPMN website, to be launched soon. I am also responsible for putting out the Insect of the Week post.
In your opinion, what is the most interesting field crop pest on the Prairies?
Considering I knew very little about the life histories of many of the pest and their natural enemies when I started working the entomologists 7 years ago, it’s hard to pick a favourite. Back to the wall, I would have to say the lowly cutworm. Who knew there were so many pest species with very different behaviours. Which makes them a challenging group to manage.
What is your favourite beneficial insect?
I’ve always had a special place in my heart for ladybird beetle. Not only are they beautiful and brightly coloured (orange with black spots), they are voracious, gobbling down hundreds (if not thousands) of aphids and other soft-bodied pests in their short lifespan. And unlike many other natural enemies, both the adult and the larva are mighty hunters.
Tell us about an important project you are working on right now.
I am working with Drs. Haley Catton, Wim van Herk and Julien Saguez on a new Wireworm Field Guide for the Prairies. It summaries all the wireworm research conducted on the Prairies since the 1910s as well as pulling in relevant research from other regions. And of course there will be high quality images throughout. Look for an announcement and download links later this summer.
What tools, platforms, etc. do you use to communicate with your stakeholders?
In addition to the PPMN blog (new website to be launched soon), I work with the entomologists to develop manuals and factsheets. I use Twitter (@ErlSv) and have a booths at several extension events throughout the year to promote the PPMN and other AAFC research programs.