Step one: Identify your weed enemy

Step two: Identify the best means to combat it. Here are some ways to help determine the treatments for weeds, insects and diseases

Is that cow cockle or cocklebur? It’s easy to tell when it’s grown so much that it’s already cost you yield, but not so easy when it’s first popping out of the ground. And once you know for sure, what are your control options?

Insect control is even trickier. Is that critter eating my crop, or is it eating the ones that are?

The answers are out there, but how quickly you find them depends on how much time and money you’d like to spend. Here’s some of your print, online and app options.

Provincial Guides to Crop Protection

The provincial Guides to Crop Protection are the “bibles” for best practices in managing weeds, diseases and insects, and for choosing the control products that are registered in each province. Alberta’s guide, often referred to as “The Blue Book,” focuses mainly on protection products and uses. The Manitoba and Saskatchewan guides also contain extensive sections on agronomic practices such as integrated weed management, assessing the need to spray, rotating products to avoid resistance and product use safety.

The PDF versions are available for free download on the provincial agriculture department websites. Saskatchewan and Manitoba’s are available in separate sections on weed, insects and diseases. Print versions of Manitoba’s ($9.82) and Alberta’s ($12) are also available by mail or at department offices.

  • Agronomic and product use information — yes
  • Registered product selection and tank mixes — yes
  • Weed, insect and disease ID — no
  • Cost — PDF free, fee for print in Alberta and Manitoba

Monsanto’s Weed ID App

Monsanto has developed a smartphone app that allows you to identify from a list of 48 weeds, with updates expected. You can select characteristics of the leaf, stem, flower and root, and the app provides a photo and a description of the weed. The app also has a mapping feature — you can identify the locations of weeds in your fields and save the information in your database.

  • Agronomic and product use information — no
  • Registered product selection and tank mixes — no
  • Weed ID — yes
  • Cost — free download at iPhone and Android app stores

Alberta Invasive Species Council

The Alberta Invasive Species Council’s website has information on species of plants, animals and fish in the province. It identifies weeds listed as “Prohibited Noxious” and “Noxious” and regulated under the Alberta Weed Control Act. There are photos and descriptions of each along with general recommendations on prevention and management, but not specific chemical control.

  • Agronomic and product use information — no
  • Registered product selection and tank mixes — no
  • Weed ID — yes
  • Cost — free at

XID Services

U.S.-based XID Services offers a weed identification guide with more the 6,200 photos plus line drawings of 1,225 weed species of the U.S. and Canada. It is available on DVD or a flash drive which works on Windows computers only. XID says the guide is the largest reference available for North America, and has a fully illustrated glossary of botanical terminology, county level distribution maps and page references to over 50 of the most commonly used weed reference books.

  • Agronomic and product use information — no
  • Registered product selection and tank mixes — no
  • Weed ID — yes
  • Cost — US$49.95 plus $5 shipping from

Manitoba Agriculture — weeds

Manitoba Agriculture maintains a website with an extensive list of weeds, including photographs at various growth stages. It recommends general control and prevention practices, including the best herbicide groups.

Manitoba Agriculture — insects

Manitoba Agriculture also maintains a website with an extensive list of insects in field and horticultural crops, with detailed descriptions of their behaviour, economic thresholds and general control methods.

Savvy Farmer

Savvy Farmer is an online data warehouse which maintains data on 1,900 registered agrochemical products (including generics and co-packs), 450 active ingredients, 900 crops, 1,400 pests, 30 application methods plus label rates and chemical groups, giving a total of more than five million treatment options. The data is updated frequently. Savvy Farmer allows you to enter the weed, insect or disease to be controlled, and receive a recommendation including all registered products including generics, as well as tank mixes.

Savvy Farmer offers a free version called “Savvy Search” which allows you to enter the pest to be controlled and receive a list of all registered control solutions including labels and MSDS. There is also a paid upgrade data service which allows access to more detailed information such as tank-mix treatments, generics finder, application methods, rates, PHI, active ingredients, formulation, residual activity, toxicity, modes of action, and over 2,000 pest identification photos.

Savvy Farmer will soon be launching its weed identification app called “Savvy Weed-ID.” This app allows you to quickly identify over 350 weeds, and also provides registered treatment options to control the weed.

  • Agronomic and product use information — yes
  • Registered product selection — yes
  • Weed and insect ID — yes
  • Cost — Savvy Search version — free. Data services prices vary based on the type of data requested. Contact Savvy Farmer at [email protected] More details at

Dow AgroSciences

DowAgroSciences has a website with photos of Prairie crop and pasture weeds, with brief comments on growth habits and control.


AgChemExpert is an online service with a continually updated database of all registered agrochemicals in Canada, including all label and tank mix information. Dropdown menus allow you to enter the crop plus the weed, pest or disease to be controlled and receive a recommendation on the possible control options, including all products.

The base version comes with CropWizard, which includes product-selection tools, resources and additional support features. The standard package adds pest information, ACE Tips for product use and optimization, a crop scouting form and other tools. AgChemExpert also contains a section by spraying expert Tom Wolf, with articles and videos on sprayer technology and operation.

AgChemExpert is available through Univar’s CropWeb network.

  • Agronomic and product use information — yes
  • Registered product selection — yes
  • Weed and insect ID — pending
  • Cost — Base version $499.99 per year, standard version $699.99

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