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What is the Western Forum on Pest Management? (PCN Winter 2014) JAN 23 2014 | Consumers and Producers | Pulse Crop News

This article appeared in the Winter 2014 issue of Pulse Crop News.

The Western Forum on Pest Management (WFPM) was held from October 7-9, 2013 in Winnipeg MB, and is a conference put on by the Western Committee of Crop Pests (WCCP) and the Western Committee on Plant Disease (WCPD).

The founding members of the WCCP are the Entomology Departments of the Lethbridge, Saskatoon and Winnipeg Research Stations; the Departments of Agriculture of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, and a member from the chemical industry. Today the WCCP has evolved and is described as “a widely-based group of pest management experts and researches who meet annually to determine best practices for integrated pest control in Western Canada.”

The WCCP was established in 1962 and meets annually in a different province each year to discuss reports on crop pests observed over the last year and to share new information. The WCPD also meets annually. Established in 1976, it was organized as one of the four committees under support of the Western Forum. Its objective of the WCPD is “to promote the development and adoption of sound control measures for plant diseases of regional concern in the four western provinces.” The WCPD and the WCCP hold business meetings in conjunction with the forum.

Updates from the conference included upcoming varieties with pest resistance, new pesticides, current research, other topics discussed were minor use chemicals, and changes to government regulations affecting pest management. The forum also provided information on common crops grown in the Prairie Provinces, as well as information on apiculture, greenhouses and tree production.

What information is there for pulse growers in Alberta?

The annual disease summary for Alberta’s crops was presented by Dr. Michael Harding, research scientist with Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development. He reported that field peas had significant pressure from root rot this year and it is affecting long term pea growers. Currently, there is research being conducted on root samples collected this year from Saskatchewan and Alberta to determine causal agents.

In peas this year, Mycospherealla Blight had significant impact across the province and Ascochyta Leaf Spot was found most commonly in seed samples sent to 20/20 Seed Labs in Nisku. It was noted that Fusarium spp. was found in a small number of samples which is uncommon in pulse crops. Downy Mildew and Sclerotinia stem rot were also found in peas. In chickpeas, it was noted that several lines of Aschochyta blight were found in Bow Island this year and was not controlled by hot dry weather. In faba beans, Lygus bugs caused some damage to seed quality in central and south central Alberta and mild chocolate spot was also found in some areas. Soybeans have been affected by root rot this year across all of the prairie provinces with severe disease incidence found in low-lying and flooded areas.

Holly Grelech, business development manager at BioVision Seed Labs, spoke about identifying disease in pulse seed including Anthracnose, Ascochyta, Botrytis and Sclerotinia fungal colonies. The testing options at BioVision Seed Labs include single pathogen or a comprehensive fungal screen but the popularity of single pathogen testing remains strong. Grelech also mentioned that storage molds such as Aspergillus and Penicillium can infect pulses, just as in cereals.

Alan Boucher from the Value Assessment Division at the Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) presented a fungicide update for 2013. Most registrations of new actives, emergency registrations and minor use registrations were related to fruits, vegetables, trees etc. One exception was the registration of Kodiak Fungicide seed treatment on legumes (including soybeans), canola and mustard.

Kristen Podolsky, production specialist with Manitoba Pulse Growers, updated the group on pest management and other production information regarding Manitoba’s soybeans this year. Manitoba’s soybean crop is relatively new and has not yet seen many of the diseases or insects that are in Ontario or the US. There were other industry presentations at the forum including Secan, Dow AgroScience, CropLife Canada and updates on cereal and canola pests.

The WFPM will be held in Alberta next year; you can find more information on the committee online. There is also access to updated guidelines for the control of western crop pests in full PDF format on the website