Wednesday, 24 June 2015

This Week at the Farm (June 22, 2015)

June is a busy month here at the farm and this week we were busy preparing for the Lygus caging study. On Thursday, our team worked hard to get 24 caging tents up on the test plots for future Lygus storage.

It is important that the tents go up before the canola begins to bolt.   There are two cages per plot and three plots per replicate with four replicates -- one tent is an untreated control while the other cage will be treated with 20 live Lygus adults.  The objectives of this study are to compare Lygus feeding damage from bolting to harvest when the Lygus are allowed to feed and reproduce on either Westar an InVigor or a RoundUp Ready cultivar.

Once the cages are up, we then mass collect Lygus adults and they need to be sorted by species and sex in order to ensure that 10 males plus 10 females of the same species are introduced into the treated cages.  We also have to empty the cages prior to adding our test subjects.  In each plot, there are two cages: one cage receives 20 lygus adults while the other will be maintained insect-free for the rest of the growing season.

At harvest, our Staff then collects all the arthropods inside each cage - we do it by vacuuming!  We use vacuums and fabric to bundle the retrieved insect samples then we freeze everything so we can can sort it later.  In the Fall, each sample is processed to determine the species and instar stages of the recovered Lygus.  We also hand-harvest all the canola plants inside each cage so we can determine the yield and quality.  We then compare our harvest data to the recovered insect densities and stages.  We are most keen to examine the impact of the Lygus feeding on Westar but to also compare that data to the newer InVigor and RoundUp Ready cultivars.