Each morning as dawn arrives the sound of agricultural aircraft punctuates the calm as two warriors head out over the fields to do battle with the wheat midge the craws up the stem during the dark hours of the day to feast on the growing plant. There was a major campaign last year and right around Tisdale, there is sufficient investation to launch this year's war on the pesky varmint.
The wheat crop is vulnerable to the bug for a period of its early life and that usually is in late June to early July. With the cool temperatures this year's excellent crop is right at the stage were relatively low numbers of the insect can affect yields considerably.
One farmer, about an hour East of Tisdale reported that they have been watching their crop very closely for the wheat midge but no signs were seen and their crop, planted just a bit earlier, is now already past the stage where the wheat midge would do damage to the best crop in five years.
The aerial spraying is being conducted in Tisdale this year by Westman Aerial Spraying of Brandon, Manitoba with their brand new Ayres Air Tractor, AT-502B which they brought into Canada April 14th. The second plane is an earlier version of the Ayres, a 1994 S-2R which was built before Ayres went into production on their own, by North American Rockwell Aero Commander Division and is owned by West Wind Airspray LTD. of Lethbridge Alberta.
The wheat midge is extremely pervasive where ever cereal crops are grown and you might want to read a little bit more about the bug on the Alberta Department of Agriculture page about the crop vandal.