New Pest Management Practices for the Control of Wireworm

[Light, acoustic music fades in.] Narrator: Wireworms have become a major pest for Canadian farmers. They’re the larva of the click beetle. At the larva stage they live in the soil and eat the roots of plants. Wireworms affect a wide variety of crops such as root vegetables and grains. However potatoes are the most affected. In Prince Edward Island alone the potato board estimates it costs farmers… …6 million dollars a year in pest management measures and crop losses. Traditionally, organochloride and organophosphate insecticides… …have been used to control wireworms. In Canada many of these broad spectrum products… …are no longer available or are being phased out. With limited insecticide control available the wireworm population is growing and spreading. Thanks to some pioneering research by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada scientist… …Christine Noronha there is positive news. She’s working with Prince Edward Island potato farmers using brown mustard as a rotational crop to fight the pest. Dr. Christine Noronha: It has a specific glucosinolate in its roots… …which is actually toxic to insects when they chew on it. Narrator: With mustard, the infestations of wireworm have been reduced to manageable levels but not eradicated. Noronha is now exploring buckwheat grown at a crop rotation with mustard and potatoes… …as a control for wireworms. Participating farms have seen further and significant reduction of wireworm population. Dr. Christine Noronha: It is a green solution it doesn’t use insecticides… …so you are doing it in a sustainable way. Narrator: Chemists are checking physical properties of buckwheat… …hydrologists will check on how growing buckwheat benefits the water table… …nutrient management experts will examine buckwheats’ ability to soak up excess nutrients in the soil… …and an engineer will study soil properties. The research by Noronha is part of a 1.8 million dollar project… …involving 17 scientists at Agriculture and Agri-food Canada research centers across the country. The research is a great example of how agricultural science has evolved in recent decades… …to become much more multidisciplinary and protective of the environment. [Light, acoustic music fades out.] [Light, acoustic music fades out.]

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