Early season insect management for canola - Parrish and Heimbecker, Limited

Early season insect management for canola

February 1, 2022 | Western Canada

The effect of drought conditions in 2021 could haunt us into 2022.  

Take flea beetles. There’s the potential for higher insect pressure due to the dry weather in 2021. This year you should definitely consider using a seed treatment. It’s one way to protect your canola against pests like flea beetles. 

Flea beetles ranked as the number one pest among 1,000 canola growers surveyed by the Canola Council in 2020. Flea beetles thrive in dry conditions. Lygus and grasshoppers also prefer a drought.  

If you saw high adult flea beetle populations in the fall you should prepare for heavier feeding pressure in the spring. Consider increasing your seeding rate and upgrading your seed treatment. Also, anything you can do to get your canola seed out of the ground quickly will help the crop compete with flea beetles. That could include seeding shallow. It’s also good to seed into a warm, moist seedbed. Sometimes that kind of management can take patience as you wait for rain.  

A canola seed treatment contains both fungicides and an insecticide to provide early season protection and give your crop a bigger window to mature before insects attack.  

Seed treatments are systemic and the length of control for cutworms or flea beetles will vary depending on the product use rate, insect pressure, crop growth and maturity. Soil and environmental conditions can also affect the length of control an insecticide offers. 

Know your fields and the pest pressures you’re facing. For example, if you know cutworms will be an issue, choose a seed treatment like Fortenza or Lumiderm. An additional bonus with these insecticide seed treatments is that they also offer prolonged control of flea beetles for 28 – 35 days.