Sunday, 15 May 2016

2016 Staff at Beaverlodge - Shelby

Hello!  My name is Shelby and this will be my third summer working at Beaverlodge Research Farm.  I recently completed a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science at the University of British Columbia.  I am excited to say that I will be pursuing a Master’s degree in Biology this upcoming fall.

For my Master’s project I will be studying the natural enemies of wheat midge, an economically important pest of wheat.   There are two major categories of natural enemies that I will be looking at: predators and parasitoids.  As part of this project, this summer I am carrying out a study that is looking at the effect of crop rotation on ground beetle populations and the rate of predation on wheat midge larvae (Figure 1).  

Despite working at the Farm for so long, I find that there are always opportunities to learn new things while working at the station.  This past week, we seeded the plots that will be used as part of the crop rotation study and I was able to learn all of the processes involved in seeding.  Greg Semach, the Agronomy & Crop Adaptation Biologist at AAFC-BRF, showed me all of the process involved in seeding (Video clip below).  He explained how to load seed into the station’s Conserva Pak, how to change the seeding rate, and to how to clean the seed drill between seed types.  The entire process was incredibly interesting and I am lucky to have been able to see all of the hard work that goes into setting up and seeding all of the Farm’s research plot trials.

Figure 1. This 16-treatment trial includes wheat midge susceptible and tolerant varieties of wheat but also canola, peas and even a weed species. 

Greg Semach begins seeding the wheat into the first plot of the rotation study.  Greg explained that the knives on the Conserva Pak cut the seed rows as seeds are deposited down from the seed boxes via the tubs to fall into the seed rows.