Sunday, 15 May 2016

2016 Staff at Beaverlodge - Celine

Two weeks in and we are getting more into the swing of things! This week started off with finishing up our drivers training and heading on out the next day for PPMN (Prairie Pest Monitoring Network) field work. Jadin and I were out all Tuesday collecting and deploying sticky cards for both Diamondback Moth and Flea Beetle. We set up four new sites at our producer-cooperator sites (Sears, Wilson, Nordhagen, and Longson). When we arrive at a site, we first need to examine the lay of the land.  Normally, pheromone traps are set up to allow the prevailing winds to carry a pheromone plume across the field.  Because the wind blows from the west in the south Peace, we usually set up our pheromone traps on the west side of the field along a north-south transect.  We set up our diamondback moth traps ~3 feet above the ground so that means we need to pound in some stakes (Figure 1)!  

Sometimes protocols have to be adapted when we’re doing applied research.  Our Wilson site included fallen trees and ant hills so we had to make some modifications and instead set up along the southern edge with traps running along an east-west transect. 
Figure 1. Pounding in a stake to set up our diamondback moth pheromone trap.
Note how I am wearing booties! These are to protect the fields from encountering any clubroot that may have been picked up by our shoes. We have to put on booties at every field we go to to prevent the spread of this disease. Another disease the booties help to protect against is Fusarium Headblight, most commonly caused by the fungus Fusarium graminearum. This fungus thrives in moist and hot conditions, overwintering in the crop debris. It affects crops such as wheat, barley, oats, and other cereal grains and causes premature bleaching of the heads of the crop. All three prairie provinces in Canada can experience this fungus, and these diseases are only the beginning…

The past couple weeks have been full of introductions, new information, and learning from each experience (both good and bad) as they come. Our days included but were not limited to: data collections, processing and uploading data from the field, updating cooperator information, learning about the pests of the Peace River region, an introduction to to pinning insects and helping out with various tasks around the laboratory. I am looking forward to working in the IPM lab with all of the lovely folks throughout the rest of the summer!