Manitoba Agriculture has released its Summary of Insects on Crops in Manitoba in 2020.
Insect pests of greatest concern were flea beetles in canola, armyworms (cereal), cutworms, and grasshoppers.
"Flea beetles were quite abundant again," noted Entomologist John Gavloski. "They've been at chronically high levels for quite a few years. This year was no exception. The big battle with flea beetles is getting the crop to that 2 to 3 leaf stage as quickly as possible. That's when the plant becomes a bit more tolerant to the feeding and the longer it takes, the more damage flea beetles do."
He commented on grasshoppers.
"Populations have been building. For about three or four years now, we've seen levels gradually increasing. It's at the point where early on a lot of people were noticing very high levels in some of the field edges, ditch areas. There was a lot of edge spraying early on, then people were doing some full field spraying later in the season to try to control them."
Gavloski touched on cutworms.
"Cutworms go through cycles where they build up and get to high levels and then the population tends to come down over a few years. I think we might be on the downward side of the cycle, at least I'm hoping we are. Populations weren't quite as bad as 2019, but they still were quite significant."
He adds armyworms (cereal) blow in from other areas, noting Manitoba did have a fairly big population move in this year. Armyworms were widespread across the province.
Grasshoppers and flea beetles may be a concern in 2021, so farmers should watch for those early.
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