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Agricultural News

Canola Producers, Researchers Getting a Handle on Pest Management, Royer Says

Thu, 20 Feb 2014 14:17:24 CST

Canola Producers, Researchers Getting a Handle on Pest Management, Royer Says
One issue that farmers new to canola have to master early is pest control. Dr. Tom Royer, an entomologist at Oklahoma State University, spoke about pests and effective management at the recent Canola College event in Enid. He says producers and researchers in the Southern Plains have already learned a great deal about managing the crop in the relatively short time it has been grown here.

“The first thing we learned was that aphids are always going to be a problem in canola every year and we always have to be conscious of that and be ready for them. So, that’s one of the first things we tried to address as our learning curve increased. We started figuring out ways we could hold back aphids and manage them.”

Royer says that another pest of concern is the diamond-backed moth and other caterpillars that may begin to invest the crop before it goes into dormancy. He says they are studying it very closely to see if the weather has any affect on them or if they are continued to do damage while the canola plant is dormant.

Another pest issue coming to the forefront, Royer says, is the issue of springtails.   

“I know producers, if they have a neighbor that’s close by, they get complaints a lot about these things coming out of canola and causing problems for a long time. We’re trying to figure that one out a little bit… It seems as more people are interested in no-till canola it also provides conditions for springtails to build up and once the sun shines on them they want to get out of that field so they start moving and finding people’s homes and causing problems there.”

He says there are a variety of other insects that have popped up from year to year and, “We’re in the process of learning and trying to deal with things on the go as well as the canola producers themselves. And we’re just trying to prioritize and address those issues through research so we can help them out.”

One of the difficulties facing producers trying to effectively manage their crop has been the lack of pest management products labeled for use in canola.

“One of the big concerns is that we basically have one type of insecticide that is registered and they all work the same way and that can set you up for potential resistance development, but fortunately recently we’ve seen some new products become registered in canola that work in a different way and we can use them so that we can rotate and do some things differently and, hopefully, avoid that problem of ever developing or at least hold it off for a long time.”

Royer says one of the biggest things that wheat farmers transitioning to canola have to learn is that it requires far more observation than a wheat crop.

“You can’t ignore it ever. You can’t walk away from it for just any length of time because there’s always something that can happen, some issue that can develop with canola some pest issue that can develop and catch people off guard.”


Tom Royer talks with Ron Hays at the recently-completed Canola College.
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