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Field Scouting Throughout the Growing Season

 
  From the July 9, 2018 Issue of Agri-News
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 Field scouting throughout the growing season can lead to more successful crop production. Mark Cutts, crop specialist at the Alberta Ag-Info Centre explains its benefits.

“There are numerous factors that can impact a developing crop,” says Cutts. “Scouting can help producers understand what is occurring in their fields and aid them in making proper management decisions. At this time of the year, for example, producers can evaluate various agronomic components including weed populations, diseases and insect pests.”

The main focus of producers now is weed control. Many fields have already been sprayed with a herbicide that was selected based on an evaluation of the weed species that were present in the field.

“It is also very important to recognize that scouting after a herbicide application is vital to weed control, says Cutts. “Scouting after a herbicide application will show producers if the weeds were adequately controlled. In the majority of cases, producers will find that the chemicals have worked. However, in certain situations, field scouting may show the weeds weren’t properly controlled. Producers can start to evaluate what might have caused the problem.”

A difference in the pattern of weed escapes can indicate poor performance of a herbicide due to environmental conditions or that herbicide resistant weeds may be present. Explains Cutts, “If the weeds that escaped the herbicide application are found throughout the entire field, it can point to limited herbicide effectiveness due to environmental conditions such as low temperatures. However, if the weeds are found in isolated patches, it may be a herbicide resistance issue. If unsure of the cause, contact an agronomist or chemical company representative to discuss the possible causes of the weed escapes.”

Scouting of crops at this time also allows disease development to be assessed. “For example," adds Cutts, "Barley leaf diseases such as scald and net blotch move from the older leaves to the newer leaves as the growing season progresses. If leaf diseases are present and environmental conditions remain favourable for disease development, a fungicide application may be necessary once the crop has reached the flag leaf stage.'

“At this time of the growing season a number of insect pests can also be evaluated. Producers can scout for recently emerged insects. For example as head emergence occurs on wheat crops they should be monitored regularly for wheat midge. As flowering starts in canola, producers can start to evaluate the presence of cabbage seedpod weevil," says Cutts. Alberta Agriculture and Forestry’s website includes information on economic thresholds for insect pests attacking oilseeds, cereals and corns, and forages.

For more information about field scouting, call the Alberta Ag-Info Centre at 310-FARM (3276).

Contact:
Alberta Ag-Info Centre
310-FARM (3276)

 
 
 
 
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For more information about the content of this document, contact Mark Cutts.
This document is maintained by Christine Chomiak.
This information published to the web on June 25, 2018.