b'CANADIAN POTATO COUNCILMile-High HeadacheEntomologists not ready to throw in the towel against nasty pest. BY: TREVOR BACQUETHE COLORADO POTATO beetle continues to frustrate farmers and take its destructive roadshow across Canada. One reason for this is they are highly adaptive to control methods and simply hard to kill. And yet, despite the dour outlook, farmers still have many options available and there is reason for optimism.Research from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) from coast to coast is underway to arm farmers with as much up-to-date information as possible to keep the nasty pest from decimating any more potato fields.Led by co-principal investigators Chandra Moffat in the Okanagan, B.C., and Ian Scott in London, Ont., the project dubbed Development of Regional Management Strategies and DecisionAn example of what interactive beetle maps will look that will be available to farmers. Making Tools for Control of ColoradoPHOTO: CHANDRA MOFFATPotato Beetle will inform farmers of where beetle hotspots are, what chemistriesorganic production. Products in this classinfluence on crop productivity, explains have been losing efficacycritical forare often used as a mid-season foliar spray,Moffat. Where we see soil health, we see rotational chemistry optionsand evenjust in case the early season seed treatmentless pressure.what molecular markers are changingloses its effectiveness partway through. The regions that are being investigated within the beetles genetic structure toThis development is of concern because Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec give faster clues to control them and swapthe use of the spinosynsas well asand Prince Edward Islandare showing chemicals. diamides, as insurance spraysmaydifferent levels of beetle pressure in The five-year research project ends incontribute to reduced efficacy over time.general in addition to varying levels of 2023, but with three years of data to pullHowever, farmers are put into seeminglyresistance to certain insecticides, as well.from, theres already relevant takeawaysimpossible positions of protecting theirGenerally speaking, farmers in Eastern for potato farmers, including how thecrop versus losing it. Canada have a bit more time, with getting neonicotinoid (neonics) classarguablyLuckily, farmers do have options. Theregood results from neonics and diamides the most popularof insecticides hasare multiple chemistries commerciallycompared to Western Canada, according to continued to lose ground over the years. available and a concerted rotational effortMoffat, but not much.With the neonicotinoids, thats whereto not overuse one over the other willIn Quebec, for instance, they are now we are seeing the greatest indications ofhelp extend the chemistries lives. As well,in an intermediate category of reduced reduced susceptibility and resistance incrop rotation is another cultural controlsusceptibility, which means while some some cases, says Scott. Its not so much ofthat helps reduce or slow the beetleschemistries still work, they dont work like a surprise due to their long use in Canada,overall population growth. It is alwaysthey used to. The team operates on a simple but we are quite interested in the fact thatrecommended to have at least two non- traffic light system of control where green many growers are seeing similar reducedpotato years after growing the spuds, if notmeans 70-plus per cent control, yellow is susceptibility with the spinosyns, whichmore.30-69 and red is 0-29. includes the only product registered forBuilding soil health has such a majorCurrently, Manitoba and Ontario are 32SPUDSMART.COM Summer 2021'