Why is this research important for Alberta ag?
Flea beetles can cause yield losses of $300M in canola. Insecticidal treatment is the primary control method but can negatively impact the agroecosystem, resulting in total crop destruction and the need for re-sowing.
This project will investigate the effect of abiotic factors on flea beetle development, flight, dispersal and population dynamics, with an aim to develop weather-dependent, stage-structured predictive models. Both striped and crucifer flea beetles are important early season pests of canola production. Historically, crucifer flea beetle was considered the more important pest in Alberta. However, striped flea beetles have emerged as equally important and co-exist with crucifer beetles. This paradigm shift necessitates study of species interaction, dispersal and population modelling of both species in relation to weather parameters in various environments.
What benefits can producers expect from this research?
Findings will be used to develop stage-structured, weather-dependent predictive phenology models for both species in Alberta. Stage-structured pest phenology models will be applied and tested to produce pest forecasts to help devise effective management.
How will these research findings reach producers on-farm?
All prairie canola growers will be updated on research findings on flea beetle model development. In addition to in-person communication with cooperating growers, research updates will take the form of:
publication in grower magazines (Top Crop Manager, Western Producer, Canola Digest), research updates on grower organization websites (Alberta Canola Producers Commission, Canola Council of Canada), talk radio (Cal of the Land), and podcasts
Participation in Alberta Canola field days, technical workshops, and trade-shows
Production of annual reports and a final report for funding agencies
Production of field days and direct dissemination of research in larger producer events (Farm Tech, Canola Palooza)
Dissemination of results to agronomists, pest managers and researchers at the Prairie Pest Monitoring Network annual workshop
Dissemination to the scientific community through presentations at scientific conferences (Entomological Societies of Alberta, Canada, America) and publication in the scientific literature