A key topic of discussion at farm meetings over the last few weeks has been the insect forecast.

The Prairie Pest Network released the provincial insect forecast maps this week.

During Alberta's Agronomy Update insect technologist with Alberta Agriculture and Irrigation Dr Shelley Barkley told producers that not only did grasshoppers increase in numbers in 2022, but also in area.

You can start watching for grasshoppers in May or June in areas where we saw lots of them in 2022. 

"Watch and do some counts, know your economic thresholds and make decisions then on whether you have to control them or not. But know that, you know we had this beautiful fall in the end, and that they can lay lots and lots of eggs. So there's lots of potential."
Barkley says if you had a problem in 2022 chances are you'll see a problem in 2023.

Saskatchewan's insect specialist Dr James Tansy agrees.

He told producers during the Top Notch Canola and Barley meetings that some areas saw strong pressure last year.

"We had a really protracted period, a nice long open fall, late summer with really warm, dry conditions. Really conducive to these girls getting a lot of eggs into the ground. So barring cool, wet conditions in the Spring, which you know we're hoping for to reducing effects of that. We're probably looking forward to large grasshopper populations again, primarily in central and southern regions."

Manitoba entomologist John Gavloski says farmers have been seeing an increase in grasshopper populations.

"I was getting reports of grasshoppers at damaging levels from the eastern part of the province, central part, the southwest and northwest. It wasn't just a particular region, like say the Southwest or northwest that was getting them. It was more across the province. But that being said, within a region, say the southwest, you would have farmers that say, yeah, they were there, but they weren't really an issue for me. Other farmers, they were an issue and they had to control them."

Gavloski says some grasshoppers were infected by Summit disease which killed off some of those grasshoppers, but grasshoppers still remain one of the top three insect concerns for Manitoba this year.

You can check out the Provincial Insect Forecast Maps by visiting the Prairie Pest Monitoring Network.