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Ups and Downs of Field Research

This week was an exciting one for me as I got some first-hand experience with the ups and downs of field research.  I started off the week by calling IPM Laboratories to order the predatory mites, but after talking to a woman on the phone about the setup of my project, she told me that my experimental design was not going to work because the mites move with the wind and they wouldn’t necessarily stay where they were placed in the hopyard, making it hard to track different times of release. So back to the drawing board I went!  After some discussion with my site supervisor, Tim Weigle, it was decided that since the issue with the previous design was that the predatory mites are going to move too quickly through the hopyard, we would use that as our study.  How quickly do the predatory mites spread when they are placed at the end of the four production rows?unnamed

I took leaf samples again this week and spent another day counting TSSM under the microscope (photo to the right).  However, instead of taking my samples from the same marked plants that I took them from last week, I took them from every sixth hop plant in each row.  This way I can monitor how far down the row the predatory mites move each week.  I also ordered 20,000 N. californicus, which is a predatory mite most often used in greenhouse settings and 20,000 N. fallacis, which is widely used in the Northwest hop growing regions of the United States.  Hopefully they will come in at the beginning of next week so I can start releasing them!

Since CLEREL is home to the Lake Erie Regional Grape Program (LERGP), I have been hoping to get out and work in the vineyards, and this week I was able to!  I joined the field crew as they scouted for rootworm on Monday (lower left photo).  Tim is currently working on a project looking at nematodes as a control mechanism for rootworm, so later in the week I helped him inoculate potted grapevines with nematodes (lower right photo), which are sent and packaged up in wax worm cadavers.


Tomorrow CLEREL is hosting a Hops Conference, which is an opportunity for aspiring growers to come and visit the hopyard here and learn about nutrition, processing, marketing, and other essentials of managing a hopyard in the Lake Erie Region.  Next week I will have some photos and news to share with you from the conference!

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