LEAFY SPURGE2

 

It's green, it's yellow, it's leafy all over, and it won't go away.

Leafy spurge is an invasive species that was accidentally introduced to Manitoba about 200 years ago. It's still a problem in a lot of areas today because it has no natural predators, so it will grow rampantly. When it gets into pastures, most livestock won't eat it, and while the natural foliage is consumed, the leafy spurge continues to grow.

The RM of Stanley, however, seems to have found a way to curb the spurge through biological control. They've introduced a foreign species, the aphthona flea beetle, which eats the weed.

"Our method is trying to control it using natural methods," says Richard Warkentin from the Stanley Soil Management Association. "You don't eliminate [the weed] because you're using these beetles, which is a living organism you're using to control another living organism, so what you get is kind of a balance."

Warkentin says they introduced the beetles to the municipality over the last 20 years, and they've seen great results. He says usually they saw an 85 to 90 per cent decrease in leafy spurge stems in a 20 square meter area over five years.

This isn't necessarily unique to the RM of Stanley. Warkentin says other areas of Manitoba have reined in their weed woes through the use of the flea beetles, but he says that Stanley is probably is one of the municipal frontrunners for effectively using the little bugs.

"A lot of places, they just release the beetles, and maybe take a picture and don't really have information as to how effective they are," he says, "and we actually have been collecting data. We have 18 sites that we monitor every year, and so we actually have good information, and our information shows, that on average when we have the beetles, well, we've had up to a 100 per cent control [of leafy spurge]."

Warkentin says it's also important to prevent the spread of leafy spurge. He recommends to avoid harvesting forage crops with leafy spurge in them, and to check vehicles for leafy spurge.

More Ag News

Cattle Slaughter Numbers Up

Cattle producers have taken a hard look at their herd this year when it comes to production and management. Anne Wasko is a market analyst with Cattle Trends and says slaughter numbers are up for a…

Monsanto Winnipeg Office Closing

Bayer Canada will be moving the former Monsanto 'legacy' head office located in Winnipeg to Calgary, where Bayer's CropScience Division is headquartered. The move is said to impact 71 staff at the…

Canada West Foundation CEO Says Canada Should Dismantle Supply Management

The President and CEO of the Canada West Foundation believes dairy farmers and Canadians would be better off without supply management. Martha Hall Findlay says, as well as allowing the Americans…

Farmers Taking Advantage Of Summer-Like Conditions

Sunflower growers in the province still have a large majority of the crop left out in the field. However, Ben Friesen with Scoular Canada says we're still ahead of schedule. "We were definitely…

Canada Hosts China's Minister of Agriculture

This week, China's minister of agriculture and rural affairs made a couple of stops in Canada. Minister Han Changfu led a mission to Quebec and Ontario, where he visited with Canada's Agriculture…

Making Winter Wheat Canada's New Premium Quality Product

A winter wheat breeder in Lethbridge is working to change western winter wheat into Canada's new premium quality product over spring wheat. Dr. Robert Graf with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada…

Farmers Hoping To Advance Corn Harvest This Week

Manitoba farmers still have about 70 per cent of this year's grain corn crop left to harvest. Morgan Cott is an agronomist with the Manitoba Corn Growers Association. "We're still good, but I think…

Calf Prices Remain 'Fairly Strong'

Calf prices remain fairy strong and are getting close to where they were last year. That from Canfax market analyst Brian Perillat. "We're just going to probably start to get into some bigger volumes…

CPTPP Bill Passes Third Reading

The act to implement the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) passed third reading in the House of Commons on Tuesday. Bill C-79 passed with a vote of 236 to 44. It still…

Cereals Canada Takes Part In Italy Meetings

Cereals Canada President Cam Dahl joined Federal Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay during a stop in Italy last week. The two took part in talks surrounding country of origin labelling on pasta,…

PembinaValleyOnline.com is your only local source for community news and information such as weather and classifieds.

Login