The provincial government released its 2021 wheat midge forecast recently. (File photo by The Canadian Press)

The provincial government released its 2021 wheat midge forecast recently. (File photo by The Canadian Press)

2021 forecast shows increase in wheat midge risk in parts of Alberta

The provincial government’s wheat midge forecast for 2021 shows an increase in wheat midge risk in central Alberta.

Areas west and south of Edmonton have also seen individual fields with midge numbers at levels of concern as far south as Starland County, which is east of Olds.

The area east of Edmonton has developed into a “high risk” situation, according to the provincial government.

“Producers in that area should be considering midge tolerant wheat and other integrated pest management strategies to minimize this risk,” the government said on its website.

“Wheat midge in both areas will remain a concern in individual fields, especially if there is late seeding and higher than average rainfall in the spring.”

READ MORE: Central Alberta farmer adapts to cope with pandemic

Kevin Bender, who farms west of Sylvan Lake, said wheat midge hasn’t “had a big impact” west of Highway 2.

“I don’t know about other areas (in central Alberta) and if they’ve had issues with it. But I haven’t heard about any real problems nearby here,” he said.

Bender said he has friends in Saskatchewan who have more experience dealing with wheat midge.

“I’m not an expert on wheat midge because we haven’t had an issue with them … but I know guys who have to spray for them. It’s an added cost and you’re using an insecticide, which is generally more toxic than herbicides or fungicides,” he said.

The population of wheat midge remains low in southern Alberta.

READ MORE: Bumper crops for many Red Deer area farmers who have already finished harvesting

Over the past several years, the field-to-field variation has been considerable throughout the province. Individual fields throughout Alberta may have economic levels of midge.

Each producer needs to assess their risk based on indicators specific to their farm. Specifically, producers should pay attention to midge downgrading in their wheat samples and use this as an indication of midge risk in their fields.

The 2020 fall survey included wheat growing areas throughout Alberta. In total, 311 samples were taken from 64 counties. The survey involves taking soil samples from wheat fields after harvest using a standard soil probe.

Larval cocoons are washed out of the soil using a specialized series of screens. Larvae are counted, and then dissected to determine parasitism levels in the midge.



sean.mcintosh@reddeeradvocate.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Attendees of the Downtown Red Deer Market, which runs every Wednesday during the summer on Little Gaetz Avenue, have complained about the lack of public washrooms. (Photo contributed by Red Deer Downtown Business Association)
Portable washrooms to be set up in downtown Red Deer this summer

More data is needed before the city invests in a permanent structure

A survey of 3,083 Red Deer residents was done by an online platform on behalf of the City of Red Deer, generating about 11,607 comments.. (File photo)
Red Deerians speak out about COVID-19 concerns in survey

More than 3,000 city residents were surveyed

A Calgary energy company's request for a tax break was turned down by Lacombe County. About $31,000 was owed by a company that went bankrupt and Silverleaf Resources Inc. bought some of their assets.
(Advocate file photo)
Lacombe County turns down oil company’s tax break request

Silverleaf Resources Inc. hoped for break on $31,000 in back taxes

RCMP recovered hundreds of stolen items, including Bibles and historical items stolen from the Bowden Pioneer Museum.
(Photo from RCMP)
Museum artifacts among hundreds of stolen items recovered by RCMP in central Alberta

Second World War and other historical and religious items recovered

Red Deer dogs Bunsen and Beaker helped save a missing pet recently. The two dogs have more than 80,000 followers on Twitter. (Contributed photo)
WATCH: Red Deer science dogs help save lost pet

Red Deer science-communicating dogs Bunsen and Beaker helped rescue a missing pet… Continue reading

Washington Nationals' Ryan Zimmerman watches his solo home run during the third inning of a spring training baseball game against the Houston Astros Monday, March 1, 2021, in West Palm Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
In-game video returning to baseball for 2021

In-game video returning to baseball for 2021

Winnipeg Jets' Nathan Beaulieu (88) clears the puck in front of goaltender Connor Hellebuyck (37) as Vancouver Canucks' Elias Pettersson (40) looks for the rebound during second-period NHL action in Winnipeg on Monday March 1, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Greenslade
Three first-period goals pace Vancouver Canucks to 4-0 victory over Winnipeg Jets

Three first-period goals pace Vancouver Canucks to 4-0 victory over Winnipeg Jets

Rugby training gear is shown during a Torotno Wolfpack during a practice at Lamport Stadium in Toronto. Bradford, Featherstone, Leigh, London,  THE CANADIAN PRESS/Neil Davidson
Plans announced to create a grassroots Canadian rugby league co-op

Plans announced to create a grassroots Canadian rugby league co-op

Ottawa Senators left wing Brady Tkachuk (7) and centre Chris Tierney (71) get sandwiched between Flames defencemen Rasmus Andersson (4) and Juuso Valimaki (6) during second-period NHL action in Ottawa on Monday, March 1, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Batherson scores twice for Ottawa Senators in 5-1 win over Calgary Flames

Batherson scores twice for Ottawa Senators in 5-1 win over Calgary Flames

Skiers may be safe from COVID-19, but not those working to keep slopes open: experts

Skiers may be safe from COVID-19, but not those working to keep slopes open: experts

Armas likes what he sees in Toronto FC camp but there are still issues to resolve

Armas likes what he sees in Toronto FC camp but there are still issues to resolve

Team Canada's Jocelyne Larocque celebrates her goal past the U.S.A. with goaltender Embrace Maschmeyer during first period of Women's Rivalry Series hockey action in Vancouver on February 5, 2020. The Canadian women's hockey team opened a camp Monday in Halifax, which is co-hosting the upcoming world championship. Hockey Canada invited 35 players to participate in the seven-day camp closed to the public and media at Scotiabank Centre. The women are training under restrictions because of the COVID-19 pandemic, including a limit of 25 players on the ice at one time. "They will continue to follow strict COVID-19 testing as per team health and safety protocols that have been detailed and approved by Nova Scotia Public Health," Hockey Canada said Monday in a statement. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Canadian women’s hockey team preparing for possible May world championship

Canadian women’s hockey team preparing for possible May world championship

Montreal Canadiens head coach Dominique Ducharme talks to his players before NHL overtime action against the Winnipeg Jets in Winnipeg on Saturday, February 27, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods
Women provide successful test of Calgary’s curling bubble ahead of Brier

Women provide successful test of Calgary’s curling bubble ahead of Brier

Most Read