Pea Leaf Weevil Forecast Looks Threatening For Southern Alberta

March 12, 2015 | Kelly Barany, Chin Ridge Seeds

There is the potential for a damaging pea life weevil infestation in southern Alberta this spring according to the latest forecast released by Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development.

The forecast is based on a survey of damaged crops in late May and early June 2014 (and can be found online at: http://www1.agric.gov.ab.ca/$department/deptdocs.nsf/all/prm15134)

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Apparently the pea leaf weevil damage in 2014 was quite a bit higher than in 2013 and the government is warning producers south of Highway 1 along with the counties of Kneehill, Wheatland, Newell and Cypress that pea leaf weevil populations are expected to reach damaging levels in 2015.

If we have a warm spring e.g. >20 degrees C for more than a few days in late April or early May the damage will be increased as the warm weather encourages the weevils to arrive early.

Pea leaf weevils will feed on many crops but the larvae will do the most damage to peas and fababeans which act as reproductive hosts. Apparently they can also do serious damage to seedling alfalfa and less severe damage to lentils and dry beans.

With pea prices the way they are, I am expecting there will be quite a few acres of peas going into southern Alberta in 2015, so farmers will need to be on watch for pea leaf weevil.

How to avoid having problems? Suggestions from Alberta Ag are to treat your seed, plant early, seed with good levels of innoculant to encourage high yield, and use foliar insecticides if levels reach economic thresholds and if the peas are at the correct stage for spraying - check the blue book for this info.

On our front, we will be advising customers to treat their peas with a seed treatment that can control pea leaf weevils. Research (see this Top Crop Manager article for more info) suggests that seed treatments are more effective at controlling pea leaf weevils than foliar sprays which can produce inconsistent results.