Friday, 8 September 2017

Field sanitation protocol in place to continue to manage clubroot and other soil-borne diseases

We are updating you on a new situation: Clubroot was confirmed in August 2017 within the Peace River region (in Big Lakes County). 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 but we have now updated and implemented increased our sanitation methods for every field as of August 31, 2017:

* 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!
* NEW -  We will reduce field work on rainy days to avoid tracking mud.
* NEW – We are using Virkon (2%), a disinfectant tested and routinely used by Albertan pathologists to manage clubroot, to sanitize both AT and BETWEEN each field.
* NEW – Rubber boots are worn and sterilized using Virkon 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.
* NEW – Vehicle tires, wheels, and wheel-wells are sanitized using Virkon both AT and BETWEEN each field.
* Any equipment in contact with the soil (eg trowels, soil samplers) is sanitized using Virkon following usage.
* All field equipment (e.g., spades, trowels, soil core samplers) are soaked in Virkon after use in each field.
* NEW – We are purchasing multiples of our equipment to allow for soaking in Virkon and/or sterilization using an autoclave.
* NEW – AAFC vehicles will be washed intermittently at commercial car washes to prevent introduction of clubroot onto our research field plots at Beaverlodge AB.

Please let us know if you have questions or concerns!  If you wish to personally see our sanitization efforts in action, please let us know so we can arrange it!  You can reach us by e-mail at or

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 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 for the future. 

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Project 200: Growing towards 2117!

Beaverlodge Research Farm celebrates its Centennial year in 2017 and it's CANADA 150!

PROJECT 200: Growing Towards 2117!  This is a school-aged event that took place June 13-15, 2017.  Students visited the Farm, toured field plots, searched for weeds, learned about trees, viewed honeybees, collected insects and more!  Check out what happened....

Project 200 was supported by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Alberta Canola Producers Commission, Peace Region Forage Seed Association, Alberta Wheat Commission, Alberta Pulse Growers and Elite Steam & Vac.

Learning about crops grown in the Peace River region (G. Semach).

Learning about agriculture from a grower's perspective (G. Sears).

Hands-on training as future entomologists take their first sweeps!

Several events are taking place at the Farm this summer including:
   June 13-15, 2017    PROJECT 200: Growing Towards 2117!
   July 14, 2017         CENTENNIAL AND CANADA 150 OPEN HOUSE!
   July 25, 2017         CANCELLED (Insufficient Registrants): PRE-HARVEST GRAIN GRADING WORKSHOP! 

Find out more....

Friday, 19 May 2017

Cutworm and Wireworm Information

Growers are hopefully scouting their fields both BEFORE, AS and AFTER they seed!  

Bare patches or slow to grow areas should be investigated and especially within the 5-10 days following seeding.  Cutworms and wireworms are often the first insect pests of the season so don't be afraid to dig in that top 3-4 cm of the soil near the base of emerging plants OR within the seed row.  You could find cutworms or wireworms and here's more information to help:

1.  NEW Cutworm Guide - a free downloadable full-colour guide to cutworm identification, biology and management in field crops grown across the Canadian prairies. A screen shot is provided below but the guide is available in both English and French.

2.  Wireworm pages from recent Insect Field Guide - below you can download ONLY the wireworm pages from this guide published in 2015 which is available in both English and French.

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Seeding underway at Beaverlodge!

The first research field plots of 2017 started to go into the ground at AAFC-Beaverlodge today!  The Agronomy and Crop Adaptation Program seeded their first agronomic field plot experiment (Fig. 1) of the year at the Beaverlodge Research Farm.

Figure 1. Research field plots being seeded using the Conserva-Pak seeder (9" row spacing) at AAFC-Beaverlodge (N55° by W119°) on May 10, 2017.
Despite wet spring conditions, this area of the research farm was fairly dry today.  The forecast is for more rain soon so the Agronomy and Crop Adaptation Program is doing their utmost to get the many agronomic trials and breeding plots into the ground.  They also manage and farm the interplot areas plus past and future research plot areas by maintaining them in rotation.  All the many experiments and plant breeding lines that are sown annually at the Beaverlodge Research Farm represent critical data because it arises from Canada's most northerly Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada site.  

It's also a very special year at the Beaverlodge Research Farm - it's our Centennial which means we mark 100 years of field plot data and all the effort and intellect that continues to make it all happen!

Watch for more as the growing season progresses!  Also mark your calendar for July 14, 2017, when the Beaverlodge Research Farm celebrates the Centennial year with an Open House for the general public to come join us!

Meet our students: Welcome back Jadin!

Hello! My name is Jadin, and I am back for another busy summer at the Beaverlodge Research Farm!

I recently completed a Bachelor of Science at the University of Alberta. This will be my fourth summer working in the IPM lab. Despite not being too comfortable around insects when I first started, I quickly developed a new appreciation for our little friends (Figure 1). Last July, during the annual Peace Canola Survey, I was able to travel to Fort Vermilion (Figure 2) and witness many interesting things such as aerial spraying!

Figure 1. Jadin (Left) holding a grasshopper nymph while Kaitlin looks on.
Figure 2. Jadin sweep-net surveying in canola near Fort Vermilion AB in 2016.
My first week back has been spent gearing up to start monitoring again this field season and introducing our new students (Charlotte, Cameron and Rebecca) to many of the projects we have going on in our lab. During my time at the Farm, I have had the opportunity to learn an immense amount of information about different insects and the crops grown in the Peace River region. I am excited to see what this summer has in store!

Meet our students - Welcome back Kaitlin!

Hi, my name is Kaitlin Freeman and this is my fourth summer returning to work at the Beaverlodge Research Farm

I just completed my second year of my Bachelor of Science in Registered Nursing at Grande Prairie Regional College. I am very excited to be involved with the Integrated Pest Management program once again this summer, and I am looking forward to expanding my existing knowledge on some of the common pests we monitor in the Peace River Northern Alberta region such as; Flea beetles, Diamondback Moths, Bertha Armyworm, Wheat Mmidge, and Red Clover Casebearers. 

This week has been all about preparing for the upcoming collecting season and teaching our new students about the different projects that will be taking place in our lab this summer (Figure 1). 

Figure 1.  Kaitlin supervising pheromone trap set up near Beaverlodge AB in 2017.

Meet our students - Welcome back Amanda!

This is Amanda –I’m back for another field season (i.e., my fifth here at the Beaverlodge Research Farm)! 

I will be continuing my M.Sc. degree studying wheat midge monitoring this year. I have another field season of data to collect. If you don’t remember how I started last field season, you can read that post here

I’ve been busy even though I’ve been away from the Farm for the past few months. A graduate student’s life is full of data analysis, writing reports and taking classes when we’re not out in the field but sometimes we get to do something fun. I recently participated in the finals of the 3 minute thesis competition at the University of Alberta. If you are interested in learning a bit more about wheat midge research you can watch it here:

I’m looking forward to another field season here at the Farm researching wheat midge monitoring!
Figure 1. Enjoying some of Alberta's great views during my down time (Photo: S. Dufton).