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Using smartphones to battle pests

New pest app can help identify pests and provide management advice.

A new app has been designed to help growers of field crops identify and manage insects, pathogens and weeds. And there is potential for other crops to be included once work on the current setup is complete.

Set to be officially released in 2018 on Android and iOS, the Mobile Integrated Pest Management (Mobile-IPM) app is a tool for Canadian farmers. It focuses on the major Canadian crops such as oilseeds, cereals and pulses. Its designers, which include staff from the University of Manitoba and University of Central Florida, aim to help farmers avoid unnecessary treatment on their crops as well as economic loss.

“The focus of the app currently is field crop, specifically oilseeds, cereals and pulse crops,” says John Gavloski, entomologist with Manitoba Agriculture. “It is possible that the range of crops may be extended at some point, but right now the focus is on testing and fine-tuning the selected crops and insects.”

Mobile-IPM was created to open more lines of communication between all people involved in successful farming, including growers, agronomists, researchers, ag extension agencies and government in western Canadian provinces.

The app allows growers to identify pest insects, weeds and diseases of Canadian oilseeds, cereals and pulses. Using the app, growers can input characteristics of the pest they are noticing and easily see and get answers. Or, snap a picture. If still not sure, use the app to ask for help from your extension agent.

Coming soon, users can use real-time monitoring and forecasting based on pest reports. Included will be data from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada agencies on climate, biology and degree-days, all vouched for by government specialists.

App designers are completing the setup for the interactive insect identification tool (available for wheat and canola) and a system for real-time pest forecasting and risk maps. They need your feedback to fine-tune the accuracy of the identification tools. They also need requests and suggestions for the crop management module.

More information on the app is available at mobile-ipm.com.

 

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