Tuesday, 19 November 2019

2019-2020 IPM Winter Presentations

The fall and winter months offer important opportunities to share our research efforts with growers and the agricultural industry.  Preliminary data and an overview of the IPM program's activities will be shared at the following events and we love seeing familiar faces!

November 19, 2019 - Falher AB at the Falher Curling Rink for the "Next Level Farming" meeting hosted by Alberta Barley (Region 6), Alberta Pulse Growers (Zone 4) and Alberta Wheat Commission (Region 5).  Link here for agenda and to register.

November 26, 2019 - Manning AB at the Manning Legion Hall for the "Powering Your Profits" meeting hosted by Alberta Canola Producers Commission.  Link here for agenda and to register.

November 27, 2019 - High Prairie AB at the Triangle Hall for the "Powering Your Profits" meeting hosted by Alberta Canola Producers Commission.  Link here for agenda and to register.

November 28, 2019 - Grande Prairie AB at the Paradise Inn and Conference Centre for the "Powering Your Profits" meeting hosted by Alberta Canola Producers Commission.  Link here for agenda and to register.

December 5, 2019 - Rycroft AB at the Rycroft Ag Centre for BASF's grower meeting.  Please contact your BASF rep for more details.

January 7-8, 2020 - Red Deer AB at the Cambridge Hotel for the "2020 Agronomy Update".  Link here for agenda and to access more conference information.

February 25-26, 2020 - Edmonton AB at the Fantasyland Hotel for the "2020 Canadian Forage Seed Conference" hosted by the Peace Region Forage Seed Association.  Link here for agenda and to access more conference information.


Saturday, 25 May 2019

Field sanitation protocol to manage soil-borne diseases

The distribution of clubroot in the Peace River region again increased in 2018 from the Big Lakes County (August 2017) to include additional sites in northwestern Alberta:
• Please access the current clubroot map here to learn more about where this disease occurs within Alberta.
• Refer to Alberta Agriculture and Forestry's website for more information on clubroot. 

The IPM Program has, since 2004, used booties and sterilized field equipment using bleach and ethyl alcohol.  From 2017-2018, field sanitation involved use of Virkon and bleach.  As of May 2019, our field sanitation protocol includes:

* AAFC staff continue to operate marked vehicles when visiting fields to identify ourselves.
* AAFC vehicles continue to park on the road OR on pull-ins – we NEVER drive into a field!
* We reduce field work activities on rainy days to avoid tracking mud.
* We are using sodium hypochlorite or bleach (2%) to sanitize both AT and BETWEEN each field.
* Rubber boots are worn and sterilized using bleach both AT and BETWEEN each field.
* Disposable booties are worn over sterilized rubber boots prior to exiting the vehicle.
* All booties are bagged then sterilized using an autoclave.
* Vehicle tires, wheels, and wheel-wells are sanitized using bleach both AT and BETWEEN each field.
* Any equipment in contact with the soil (eg trowels, soil samplers) is sanitized using bleach.
* We carry multiples of our small field equipment to allow for soaking in bleach and/or sterilization using an autoclave.
* All field equipment (e.g., spades, trowels, soil core samplers) are soaked in bleach after use in each field.
* AAFC vehicles are washed intermittently at commercial car washes to prevent introduction of clubroot onto our research field plots at Beaverlodge AB.

Please contact us if you have questions or concerns!  If you wish to personally see our sanitization efforts in action, we can arrange it!  You can reach Amanda Jorgensen, Shelby Dufton, or Jennifer Otani by e-mail.

We appreciate the value of all agricultural fields and thank our growers for allowing us to conduct  research in their fields. We appreciate their ongoing support and commitment to insect pest management.  We also want the agricultural industry to be aware and confident that we continue to do our utmost to ensure every field is protected now and in the future. 

Friday, 17 May 2019

2019 IPM Program Staff

We are well into the 2019 growing season and we are pleased to have three summer students (Matthew, Megan and Cassie) working in the lab alongside our two technicians (Shelby and Amanda.  Welcome to the team!

Meet our technician (2019) - Amanda Jorgensen

Hello there! I’m Amanda Jorgensen and I’ve been working in the IPM Program for 6 years!  I was a student in the IPM lab here at Beaverlodge (first a co-op student, then doing my M.Sc.) and have introduced myself as a student in 2016 and 2017. Now, I completed my Master’s degree from the University of Alberta and have been hired on indeterminately as a research technician at the Beaverlodge Research Farm. I am very excited to expand my responsibilities and take on more of the day-to-day lab management tasks that I took for granted as a student.

Figure 1. Amanda (left) with Shelby Dufton (right) in a wheat field at the edge of the Peace River Valley.

As a technician, I am involved in a lot more than I was as a student. While I am still been working to wrap up some wheat midge work, I will work more with insect pests and beneficial organisms in perennial grass and legume seed crops! I am currently contacting growers in the region seeking producer-cooperators who kindly allow us access to their fields so we can collect insects and assess insect-related damage in crops including creeping red fescue, smooth and meadow brome, red and alsike clover, plus alfalfa. In the past few years I focused on annual crops so I’m excited to expand my horizons!

Thanks for reading!
Figure 2. Amanda collecting soil samples in a typical Northern Alberta spring.

Meet our technician (2019) - Shelby Dufton

Hi!  My name is Shelby Dufton and you may have seen some of my posts on the blog before (1, 2, 3).  I have worked in a few different capacities with the Beaverlodge Research Farm since 2014. I started out as a co-op student from the University of British Columbia in my first couple of years at the farm and quickly found my passion for entomological research. Following this, I started a M.Sc. degree through the University of Lethbridge. For my Master’s thesis project, I studied the effects of natural enemies of the wheat midge. I recently defended my thesis in April – and I’m excited to say I passed!
Figure 1.  Shelby (right) and Amanda Jorgensen (left) scouting overnight for
wheat midge in a field near Fort Vermilion AB.

In October of 2018, I was hired on as a full-time research technician with the IPM program. Making the change from Master’s student to technician involves new opportunities for me to learn and grow with the program. Things are ramping up as the field season kicks off and I’m happy to be working outside again.

Currently, I am in the process of scouting for and setting up new fields for our insect monitoring that is part of the Prairie Pest Monitoring Network (For more information check out the PPMN blog). Looking forward to seeing you out in the field this summer!


Figure 2.  Shelby holding a Polyphemus moth, Antheraea polyphemus, that she reared in 2018.

Thursday, 16 May 2019

Meet our students (2019) - Introducing Matthew!

Hi! My name is Matthew Uniat.

Last summer I worked for AAFC-Lacombe with the Pulse Pathology program. Some of the major tasked I preformed were disease ratings for aphanomyces and fusarium, as well as applying a variety of spray treatments to field plots. This summer, I started working at the Beaverlodge Research Farm in the Integrated Pest Management program. I’m excited to expand my knowledge and look forward to learn about arthropods and their role within the Canadian prairie ecosystem. This job allows a continuation to improving and progressing my experience in doing laboratory/ field-based research.

This fall I will continue my third year of undergraduate studies at Concordia University of Edmonton, majoring in Cellular and Molecular Biology. I moved to the Prairie West region from Edmonton Alberta and am eager to live here for the summer. Throughout my life I’ve spent a great deal of time traveling around the rural areas of western North America; whether it be camping, fishing, or searching for rocks. Over this period, I’ve gained a great deal of respect for the outdoors.

So far, I have been assisting Shelby Dufton and Amanda Jorgensen, the program’s technicians. I’ve started to process sweep-net samples collected in 2018, helped set out diamondback moth pheromone traps, flea beetle sticky traps, and pitfall traps. Everyone I have worked with so far has been a great teacher and I’m excited to spend the next 4 months working with the Insect Pest Management crew.

Meet our students (2019) - Introducing Megan!

Hi! My name is Megan Yu and this is my first time working at the Beaverlodge Research Farm.

I am on my first Co-op work term, coming from the University of British Columbia, where I just finished my third year in Environmental Sciences (focusing on Ecology and Conservation). As this summer holds a lot of firsts for me, I am thrilled to learn about agriculture in the Peace River Region, as well as the insects that are both beneficial and detrimental in the agroecosystem.

Over the past couple of weeks, I have been processing samples from sweep-net collections collected last year. This process involves dumping out contents of the sample onto a tray, retrieving the insect specimens using a paint brush, then sorting the insects into small petri dishes by size and shape. It can be quite difficult, as some insects such as thrips are very tiny. There are also many insects hiding within the plants such as the petals of the flower, so extra caution must be taken when processing these samples.

The two student research technicians I am working for, Amanda and Shelby, are extremely passionate about their work. With warmer and sunnier weather, I am looking forward to go out in the field to do more insect monitoring with our research technicians while exploring the prairies of Alberta.