Alberta rain good news for farmers, bad news for grasshoppers

CNS Canada — After a dry spring, the rainfall across Alberta is a welcome change — unless you’re a grasshopper.

“I’d hoped that over the weekend with the rain we had it would drown the little buggers out. When they’re small like that, they’re easily drowned if there’s water on the surface,” said crop specialist Harry Brook of Alberta’s Ag-Info Centre in Stettler.

Although there wasn’t enough water for a grasshopper wipe-out, there was enough rain to prevent the severity of the problem they could potentially be.

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“Usually grasshoppers are the biggest problem in a dry year,” Brook said. “We have a pretty good supply of moisture and it came slow enough that it mostly soaked into the ground, so we’ve got some reserves.”

With grass and hay getting this much moisture, it will start to grow and delay the entry of grasshoppers into the annual cropping areas, Brook said.

“If we get enough humidity… it can also increase the incidents of fungal diseases that kill off grasshoppers,” Brook said.

With warmer temperatures expected going into the weekend, Brook said Alberta crops will see a growth spurt.

“The majority of the province is sitting pretty… we’ve got the moisture, we’ve got the heat, we’re off to the races.”

Erin DeBooy writes for Commodity News Service Canada, a Winnipeg company specializing in grain and commodity market reporting.

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