Weekly Update

Jennifer Otani, Ross Weiss, David Giffen, Erl Svendsen, Owen Olfert and Meghan Vankosky
Categories
Week 2

Week 2 and it’s time to get busy with in-field scouting for insects – cutworms, wireworms, flea beetles, and more are all active! In addition to the Weekly Update, be sure to catch the Insect of the Week.

Now, more than ever, we wish everyone a safe and productive field season! Stay Safe!

Questions or problems accessing the contents of this Weekly Update?  Please contact us so we can connect you to our information. Past “Weekly Updates” can be accessed on our Weekly Update page.

Weather synopsis

Ross Weiss, Tamara Rounce, Jennifer Otani and Meghan Vankosky
Categories
Week 2

Since April 1, the 2021 growing season has been cooler and dryer than normal. The National Agroclimate Risk Report states that the most significant climate-related risk to agriculture is the dry conditions across the prairie region (access the Spring to April 27, 2021 report).

This past week (May 3-9, 2021), the average temperature across the prairies was 1.3 °C cooler than normal (Fig. 1). Similarly, the average 30-day temperature (April 10-May 9) was 1.7 °C less than climate normal values (Fig. 2). Temperatures have been warmest in southern Alberta (Table 1; Fig. 1-2).

Figure 1. Seven-day average temperature (°C) across the Canadian prairies for the period of May 3-9, 2021.
Figure 2. 30-day average temperature (°C) across the Canadian prairies for the period of April 10-May 9, 2021.

The growing degree day map (GDD) (Base 5 ºC, April 1-May 2, 2021) is provided below (Fig. 3) while the growing degree day map (GDD) (Base 10 ºC, April 1-August 9, 2020) is shown in Figure 4.

Figure 3. Growing degree day map (Base 5 °C) observed across the Canadian prairies for the growing season (April 1-May 11, 2021).
Image has not been reproduced in affiliation with, or with the endorsement of the Government of Canada and was retrieved (12May2021). Access the full map at https://www.agr.gc.ca/DW-GS/current-actuelles.jspx?lang=eng&jsEnabled=true
Figure 4. Growing degree day map (Base 10 °C) observed across the Canadian prairies for the growing season (April 1-May 11, 2021).
Image has not been reproduced in affiliation with, or with the endorsement of the Government of Canada and was retrieved (12May2021). Access the full map at https://www.agr.gc.ca/DW-GS/current-actuelles.jspx?lang=eng&jsEnabled=true

At this early point in the growing season, cool temperatures pose the risk of frost but the differences between low and high temperatures can exert incredible stress on newly germinating plants in field crops. The lowest temperatures recorded ranged from <-59 to >-6 °C (Fig. 5) while the highest temperatures (°C) observed across the Canadian prairies the past seven days ranged from <11 to >26 °C (Fig. 6). Wow, what an amazing range – spring is tough!

Figure 5. Lowest temperatures (°C) observed across the Canadian prairies the past seven days (May 5-11, 2021).
Image has not been reproduced in affiliation with, or with the endorsement of the Government of Canada and was retrieved (12May2021). Access the full map at https://www.agr.gc.ca/DW-GS/current-actuelles.jspx?lang=eng&jsEnabled=true
Figure 6. Highest temperatures (°C) observed across the Canadian prairies the past seven days (May 5-11, 2021).
Image has not been reproduced in affiliation with, or with the endorsement of the Government of Canada and was retrieved (12May2021). Access the full map at https://www.agr.gc.ca/DW-GS/current-actuelles.jspx?lang=eng&jsEnabled=true

Seven-day cumulative rainfall indicates that below normal rain (86% of average) was reported for the prairies (Fig. 7). Over the past seven-days rain totals across most of Alberta and the extreme southwest region of Saskatchewan was 10-20 mm. The rest of the prairies received little or no rain. Rain (30-day accumulation) amounts have been less than average for most of the prairies (81% of average). Rainfall for April 10-May 9, 2021, has been greatest for southeastern Manitoba, southwestern Saskatchewan and across most of Alberta (Table 1; Fig. 8). Average growing season (April 1 to May 9) precipitation has been well below average for most of the prairies. The two large regions (Swift Current to Prince Albert to Vegreville and the western two-thirds of Manitoba) have had less than 40 % of normal precipitation.

Figure 7. Seven-day cumulative rainfall (mm) observed across the Canadian prairies the past 30 days (May 3-9, 2021).
Figure 8. 30-day cumulative rainfall (mm) observed across the Canadian prairies the past 30 days (April 10-May 9, 2021).

The maps above are all produced by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. Growers can bookmark the AAFC Current Conditions Maps for the growing season. Historical weather data can be access at the AAFC Drought Watch Historical website, Environment Canada’s Historical Data website, or your provincial weather network.

Access ALL the PPMN’s Wind Trajectory reports (Weekly and Daily).

Access Environment and Climate Change Canada’s weather radar mapping interface.

Potential of trajectories for monitoring insect movements

Ross Weiss, Meghan Vankosky and Serge Trudel
Categories
Week 2

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. Trajectory models are used to deliver an early-warning system for the origin and destination of migratory invasive species, such as diamondback moth. In addition, plant pathologists have shown that trajectories can assist with the prediction of plant disease infestations and are also beginning to utilize these same data. We receive two types of model output from ECCC: reverse trajectories and forward trajectories.

‘Reverse trajectories’ refer to air currents that are tracked back in time from specified Canadian locations over a five-day period prior to their arrival date. Of particular interest are those trajectories that, prior to their arrival in Canada, originated over northwestern and southern USA and Mexico, anywhere diamondback moth populations overwinter and adults are actively migrating. If diamondback adults are present in the air currents that originate from these southern locations, the moths may be deposited on the Prairies at sites along the trajectory, depending on the local weather conditions at the time that the trajectories pass over our area (e.g. rain showers, etc.). Reverse trajectories are the best available estimate of the ”true” 3D wind fields at a specific point. They are based on observations, satellite and radiosonde data.

‘Forward trajectories’ have a similar purpose; however, the modeling process begins at sites in USA & Mexico. The model output predicts the pathway of a trajectory. Again, of interest to us are the winds that eventually end up passing over the Prairies.

Access all the Historical Wind Trajectory Reports.

Weiss1, Vankosky1, Trudel2
1 Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
2 Environment and Climate Change Canada

Weekly Wind Trajectory Report (released May 13)

Ross Weiss, Meghan Vankosky and Serge Trudel
Categories
Week 2

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. Trajectory models are used to deliver an early-warning system for the origin and destination of migratory invasive species, such as diamondback moth. Read a brief overview of this strategy plus the definitions and applications of both ‘Reverse’ and ‘Forward’ trajectories.

1. REVERSE TRAJECTORIES (RT)
Since May 1, 2021, the majority of reverse trajectories crossing the prairies originated from the Pacific Northwest (Idaho, Oregon and Washington). This week, an increasing number of reverse trajectories have been moving north from Kansas and Nebraska (Fig. 1).

Figure 1. The average number (based on a 5-day running average) of reverse trajectories (RTs) that have
crossed the prairies for the period of May 1-13, 2021.

a. Pacific Northwest (Idaho, Oregon, Washington) – The majority of Pacific Northwest reverse trajectories have been reported to pass over southern Alberta (Fig. 2).

Figure 2. Total number of dates with reverse trajectories originating over the Pacific Northwest (PNW including Idaho, Oregon, and Washington) that have crossed the prairies between March 24 and May 13, 2021.

b. Mexico and southwest USA (Texas, California) – Since last week there have not been any trajectories that originated in these areas that have crossed the prairies.

c. Oklahoma and Texas – Since last week there have not been any trajectories originating in Oklahoma or Texas that have crossed the prairies.

d. Kansas and Nebraska – This week reverse trajectories were reported for Alberta (Andrew, Sedgewick), Saskatchewan (Gainsborough, Grenfell, Kindersley, Regina, Yorkton) and Manitoba (Brandon) (Fig. 3).

Figure 3. The total number of dates with reverse trajectories originating over Kansas and Nebraska that have crossed the
prairies between March 24 and May 13, 2021.

2. FORWARD TRAJECTORIES (FT)
Forward trajectories, originating from Mexico and USA have crossed a number of prairie locations since May 1, 2021. Based on average totals (averaged across a five day period), the greatest number of forward trajectories were observed to originate between May 5 and 8 (blue bars) and entered the prairies between May 6-9 (Fig. 4).

Figure 4. The average number (based on a 5 day running average) of forward trajectories that have crossed the
prairies for the period of May 1- 13, 2021.

The following map presents the total number of dates (since March 24, 2021) with forward trajectories that have crossed the Canadian prairies (Fig. 5). Results indicate that the greatest number of forward trajectories entering Canada originated from the Pacific Northwest (Idaho, Oregon, Washington).

Figure 5. The total number of dates with forward trajectories, originating from various regions of the United States and Mexico, that crossed the prairies between March 24 and May 13, 2021.

Access a PDF version of the full WEEKLY report released May13, 2021.

Cutworms

Jennifer Otani, John Gavloski and Erl Svendsen
Categories
Week 2

‘Tis the season…. to scout for cutworms! Scout fields that are “slow” to emerge, are missing rows, include wilting or yellowing plants, have bare patches, or appear highly attractive to birds – these are areas warranting a closer look.  Plan to follow-up by walking these areas later in the day when some cutworm species move above-ground to feed.  Start to dig below the soil surface (1-5 cm deep) near the base of a symptomatic plant or the adjacent healthy plant.  If the plant is well-established, check within the crown in addition to the adjacent soil.  The culprits could be wireworms, cutworms, or more!

Important: Several species of cutworms (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) can be present in fields.  They range in colour from shiny opaque, to tan, to brownish-red with chevron patterning.  A field guide is available to help growers scout and manage the various species of cutworms that can appear in field crops grown on the Canadian prairies.  Cutworm Pest of Crops is available free in either English or French! Download a searchable PDF copy that includes great photos plus a table showing which larvae are active at different points in the growing season!

Other vital resources to scout and manage cutworms include:

For anyone on the Canadian prairies, Manitoba Agriculture and Rural Development’s Cutworms in Field Crops fact sheet includes action and economic thresholds for cutworms in several crops, important biological information, and great cutworm photos to support in-field scouting.

For Albertans….. If you find cutworms, please consider using the Alberta Insect Pest Monitoring Network’s “2021 Cutworm Reporting Tool” then view the live 2021 cutworm map which is updated daily. Review the live map to see where cutworms are appearing then prioritize in-field scouting accordingly.

Cutworms were featured as 2021’s first Insect of the Week. Follow the links to access IOTW’s descriptions of armydarksideddingyglassypale western and redbacked cutworms.

● The Prairie Pest Monitoring Network has cutworm biology, plant host range, and monitoring information available.

● The Canola Council of Canada’s Canola Encyclopedia also has cutworm information posted.

Wireworms

Jennifer Otani, Wim van Herk, Robert Vernon and Erl Svendsen
Categories
Week 2

Newly seeded fields should be scouted throughout the germination and emergence periods for a variety of insect pests – one of the most difficult to detect can be wireworms! Wireworms are the juvenile stages of a complex comprised of several species of Elateridae, commonly referred to as ‘Click beetles’. On the Canadian prairies, wireworm collections from field crops indicate that three economically important species of wireworms or click beetles can be present; Selatosomus destructor, Limonius californicus, and Hypnoides bicolor. According to van Herk and Vernon (2014), a wide variety of Elateridae have been described from across the Canadian prairies; Alberta 144 species described in Alberta, 108 species described from Saskatchewan, and 109 species described from Manitoba.

Review these two wireworm posts to learn more and supplement in-field scouting:

Wireworms – Insect of the Week (2018)

Wireworm distribution map – Weekly Update (2018)

Biological and monitoring information related to wireworms in field crops is posted by Manitoba Agriculture and Resource Development, and Alberta Agriculture and Forestry. Also, refer to the wireworm pages within the “Field Crop and Forage Pests and their Natural Enemies in Western Canada: Identification and management field guide” (2018; accessible in either English-enhanced or French-enhanced versions).

Flea beetles

Jennifer Otani and Julie Soroka
Categories
Week 2

Newly emerging Brassicaceae but especially canola is attractive to overwintered flea beetles that emerge and become active early in the spring. As canola seedlings emerge, in-field scouting becomes crucial! If flea beetle densities are high, seedling damage levels can advance quickly – even within the same day! The cotyledon stage of canola is vulnerable to flea beetle feeding. Be sure to check out the Insect of the Week – Week 2 featured flea beetles!

Several species of flea beetles are present across North America. Be on the lookout for flea beetle damage resulting from feeding on canola cotyledons but also on the stem (Fig. 1).  Two species, Phyllotreta striolata (Fig. 1) and P. cruciferae, will feed on all cruciferous plants but they can cause economic levels of damage in canola during the seedling stages.

Figure 1. Flea beetle feeding damage (L) and striped flea beetle (R).

The Action Threshold for flea beetles on canola is 25% of cotyledon leaf area consumed.  Watch for shot-hole feeding in seedling canola but also watch the growing point and stems of seedlings which are particularly vulnerable to flea beetle feeding.

Estimating flea beetle feeding damage can be challenging.  Using a visual guide to estimate damage can be helpful.  Canola Watch circulated this article but also use the two images (Figs. 2 and 3; copied below for reference) produced by Dr. J. Soroka (AAFC-Saskatoon)  – take it scouting!

Figure 2. Canola cotyledons with various percentages of leaf area consume owing to flea beetle feeding damage (Photo: Soroka & Underwood, AAFC-Saskatoon).
Figure 3.  Percent leaf area consumed by flea beetles feeding on canola seedlings (Photo: Soroka & Underwood, AAFC-Saskatoon).

Access biological and pest management information posted by Alberta Agriculture and Forestry, Saskatchewan Agriculture, or Manitoba Agriculture and Resource Development, or the Canola Council of Canada’s Canola Encyclopedia. Refer to the flea beetle page within the “Field Crop and Forage Pests and their Natural Enemies in Western Canada: Identification and management field guide” (Philip et al. 2018) as an English-enhanced or French-enhanced version.

Two other favourite flea beetle resources relevant to field crop protection include:

Those armed with a stereomicroscope who are keen to monitor flea beetle species may wish to bookmark the “Common flea beetles of North Dakota” (Fauske 2003) which an excellent online resource and includes many of the commonly observed species of flea beetles also present across the Canadian prairies.

Soroka, J., Grenkow, L., Otani, J., Gavloski, J., & Olfert, O. (2018). Flea beetle (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae) species in canola (Brassicaceae) on the northern Great Plains of North America. The Canadian Entomologist, 150(1), 100-115. doi:10.4039/tce.2017.60

Cereal leaf beetle development

Ross Weiss, Tamara Rounce, David Giffen, Owen Olfert, Jennifer Otani and Meghan Vankosky
Categories
Week 2

The cereal leaf beetle (CLB) model output suggests that overwintered adults are active and that oviposition is underway across the prairies. The graphs provide a comparison of development for Saskatoon (Fig. 1) and Winnipeg (Fig. 2). The simulation indicates that first instar larvae may occur during the third week of May.

Figure 1. Predicted status of cereal leaf beetle populations near Saskatoon, SK as of May 9, 2021.
Figure 2. Predicted status of cereal leaf beetle populations near Winnipeg MB as of May 9, 2021.

Lifecycle and Damage:

Adult: Adult cereal leaf beetles (CLB) have shiny bluish-black wing covers (Fig. 3). The thorax and legs are light orange-brown. Females (4.9 to 5.5 mm) are slightly larger than males (4.4 to 5 mm). Adult beetles overwinter in and along the margins of grain fields in protected places such as in straw stubble, under crop and leaf litter, and in the crevices of tree bark. They favour sites adjacent to shelterbelts, deciduous and conifer forests. They emerge in the spring once temperatures reach 10-15 ºC and the adults are active for about 6 weeks. They usually begin feeding on grasses, then move into winter cereals and later into spring cereals.  

Figure 3. Adult Oulema melanopus measure 4.4-5.5 mm long (Photo: M. Dolinski).

Egg: Eggs are laid approximately 14 days following the emergence of the adults. Eggs are laid singly or in pairs along the midvein on the upper side of the leaf and are cylindrical, measuring 0.9 mm by 0.4 mm, and yellowish in colour. Eggs darken to black just before hatching.  

Larva: The larvae hatch in about 5 days and feed for about 3 weeks, passing through 4 growth stages (instars). The head and legs are brownish-black; the body is yellowish. Larvae are usually covered with a secretion of mucus and fecal material, giving them a shiny black, wet appearance (Fig. 4).  When the larva completes its growth, it drops to the ground and pupates in the soil. 

Figure 4.  Larval stage of Oulema melanopus with characteristic feeding damage visible on leaf (Photo: M. Dolinski).

Pupa: Pupal colour varies from a bright yellow when it is first formed, to the colour of the adult just before emergence. The pupal stage lasts 2 – 3 weeks. Adult beetles emerge and feed for a couple of weeks before seeking overwintering sites. There is one generation per year.

Fact sheets for CLB are published by the province of Alberta and available from the Prairie Pest Monitoring Network. Also access the Oulema melanopus page from the “Field crop and forage pests and their natural enemies in western Canada – Identification and management field guide” (2018; accessible in either English-enhanced or French-enhanced versions).

Predicted grasshopper development

Ross Weiss, Tamara Rounce, David Giffen, Owen Olfert, Jennifer Otani and Meghan Vankosky
Categories
Week 2

The grasshopper simulation model will be used to monitor grasshopper development across the prairies. Weekly temperature data collected across the prairies is incorporated into the simulation model which calculates estimates of grasshopper development stages based on biological parameters for Melanoplus sanguinipes (Migratory grasshopper).  

Model simulations were used to estimate percent grasshopper embryonic (egg) development as of May 9, 2021. The simulation predicts that development has now begun across southern areas of the Peace River region. Results indicate that egg development has been greatest for Lethbridge and Regina regions. Cool conditions in Manitoba have resulted in slower development rates (Figs. 1 and 2).

Figure 1. Predicted grasshopper (Melanoplus sanguinipes) embryological development across the Canadian prairies as of May 9, 2021. 
Figure 2. Predicted percent embryonic development of overwintered grasshopper eggs across the Canadian prairies as of May 9, 2021. 

Biological and monitoring information related to grasshoppers in field crops is posted by Manitoba Agriculture and Resource DevelopmentSaskatchewan AgricultureAlberta Agriculture and Forestry, the BC Ministry of Agriculture and the Prairie Pest Monitoring Network.  Also refer to the grasshopper pages within the “Field Crop and Forage Pests and their Natural Enemies in Western Canada: Identification and management field guide” (accessible in either English-enhanced or French-enhanced versions).

Alfalfa weevil predicted development

Ross Weiss, Tamara Rounce, David Giffen, Owen Olfert, Jennifer Otani and Meghan Vankosky
Categories
Week 2

Model simulations for alfalfa weevil (AAW) indicate that oviposition should be well underway across the prairies. The following graphs indicate, based on potential number of eggs, that development is more advanced near Lethbridge (Fig. 1) than Brandon (Fig. 2). The model predicts that hatch may occur during the last week of May.

Figure 1. Projected predicted status of alfalfa weevil populations near Lethbridge AB as of May 9, 2021.
Figure 2. Projected predicted status of alfalfa weevil populations near Brandon MB as of May 9, 2021.

Alfalfa growers are encouraged to check the Alfalfa Weevil Fact Sheet prepared by Dr. Julie Soroka (AAFC-Saskatoon).  Additional information can be accessed by reviewing the Alfalfa Weevil Page extracted from the “Field crop and forage pests and their natural enemies in western Canada – Identification and management field guide” (2018; accessible in either English-enhanced or French-enhanced versions).

Provincial insect pest report links

Jennifer Otani
Categories
Week 2

Provincial entomologists provide insect pest updates throughout the growing season so link to their information: 

MANITOBA’S Crop Pest Updates for 2021 are now available! Access the May 12, 2021, report here. Be sure to bookmark their Crop Pest Update Index to readily access these reports!

Diamondback moth pheromone trap monitoring update for MB – So far (as of 12May2021). only one moth has been intercepted on a pheromone trap deployed near Austin.

SASKATCHEWAN’S Crop Production News will soon be available. Access the new Crops Blog Posts and review Saskatchewan’s 2020 insect pest surveying results in order to prepare for 2021. Be sure to bookmark their insect pest homepage to access important information!

Diamondback moth pheromone trap monitoring update for SK – two moths were reported (2021May13 Tansey, pers. comm.); one moth near Shaunavon (RM78) and one moth near Raymore (RM 278).

•  ALBERTA’S Alberta Insect Pest Monitoring Network webpage links to insect survey maps, live feed maps, and insect trap set-up videos and more. Additionally, NEW for 2021 – AAF’s Shelley Barkley has gathered and streamlined information into a Major Crops Insect webpage. The new webpage does not replace the Alberta Insect Pest Monitoring Network page. However, the new Major Crops Insect webpage serves as a table of contents, connecting users to crop insect pest information on alberta.ca. It offers links to specific insect identification, life cycle, damage, monitoring and management. Users will hopefully find pertinent insect information with fewer clicks! Remember, AAF’s Agri-News occasionally includes insect-related information or Twitter users can connect to #ABBugChat Wednesdays at 10:00 am.

Diamondback moth pheromone trap monitoring update for AB – Refer to the Live Map which reports zero moths (as of 13May2021).

Cutworm reporting tool for AB – Refer to the Live Map which reports two sites with cutworms (as of 13May2021).

Crop report links

Jennifer Otani
Categories
Week 2

Click the provincial name below to link to online crop reports produced by:

• Manitoba Agriculture and Resource Development – Subscribe to receive, or access a PDF copy of the May 12, 2021 report.

• Saskatchewan Agriculture  or access a PDF copy of the May 10, 2021 report.

• Alberta Agriculture and Forestry or access a PDF copy of the report released May 4, 2021.

The following crop reports are also available:

• The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) produces a Crop Progress Report (read a PDF copy of the May 10, 2021 edition).

• The USDA’s Weekly Weather and Crop Bulletin (read a PDF copy of the May 11, 2021 edition). 

Flea beetles active already

Erl Svendsen
Categories
Week 2

In canola, the most common flea beetles are either bluish black (crucifer flea beetle or Phyllotreta cruciferae) or black with two wavy yellow lines running down the length of its back (striped flea beetle or P. striolata). They overwinter as adults under plant material along field margins and females lay eggs in the soil near host plants. 

Striped and crucifer flea beetles feed on canola, mustard and related cruciferous plants and weeds. Canola is highly susceptible to feeding damage at the cotyledon stage – damage appears as ‘shot-holes’ in cotyledon leaves. Flea beetles also feed on stems and very young seedlings may wilt or break off under windy or damp conditions. New generation adults feed on maturing pods late in the summer. Remember, the Action Threshold for flea beetles on canola is when 25% of cotyledon leaf area is consumed (see post from 2019 on estimating flea beetle damage and action threshold and the Flea Beetle Monitoring Protocol). 

According Dr. Tyler Wist (@TylerWist1), who makes it his business to know, striped flea beetles are already active.

More information about these pests (lifecycle, damage, control options, etc.) and others is available in the Field Crop and Forage Pests and their Natural Enemies in Western Canada: Identification and Management field guide. (en français : Guide d’identification des ravageurs des grandes cultures et des cultures fourragères et de leurs ennemis naturels et mesures de lutte applicables à l’Ouest canadien)

Crucifer flea bettle
Crucifer flea beetle (AAFC)
Striped flea beetle
Striped flea beetle (Mike Dolinski)

Wind Trajectory Report for May 10

Ross Weiss, Serge Trudel, Jennifer Otani and Meghan Vankosky
Categories
Week 2

ECCC trajectory models indicate that air trajectories, originating over the Pacific Northwest (Idaho, Oregon, Washington), have crossed one Saskatchewan location (Unity) and a number of Alberta locations including Lethbridge, Beiseker, Olds, Provost, Vegreville, Andrew, Grande Prairie, Rycroft and Fort Vermillion.

Access this DAILY one-page report to learn more. Albertans and Saskatchewanians please take note!

Areas highlighted green in this alert may receive incoming winds from the Pacific Northwest of the USA very shortly! Remember, host plants of diamondback moth include all plants in the Brassicacea family, including cruciferous weeds and volunteer canola. These plants are suitable hosts until canola emerges. 


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