Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Legless aphid collection

I am at the Illinois Natural History Survey in Champaign, IL this week. I am working with Dave Voegtlin and he is helping learn how to identify aphids. It's a mighty task, as there are hundreds of species in North America. Iowa regularly traps over 60 species each year. I am hoping to learn how to identify the common species found in our field crops. So I began sorting stored vials and using a few references, and then began slide mounting some individuals. It's probably not a surprise that it is tedious, slow-moving and highly repetitious work. Most of my slides having lots of missing body parts. So far it's a great legless aphid collection!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Pest predictions...

As I see plants coming back to life around Ames, I am also preparing for the upcoming field season. We are planning research at five ISU farms this year, which takes a tremendous amount of planning to get things straight. I am collaborating with a few faculty on campus this year, including Alison Robertson, Matt O’Neal and Aaron Gassmann. Fingers crossed for a productive research season!
Everyone is asking about my predictions for soybean aphid and other insects this year. It is very difficult to say what will happen in corn and soybean at this point. We didn’t have as much snow cover or cold temperatures this winter, and so insects were more likely to be exposed but to warmer weather. I recommend keeping your eyes open for insect activity right around planting and emergence – it will set the tone for potential infestations for the rest of the summer.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Ag and Natural Resources annual meeting

Just wrapping up another productive annual meeting on campus. The focus was on adult learning, water quality, crop production and some new technologies.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

ANR professional development

Our annual training on campus started today. We learned about transformation learning geared to adults. I need to start asking open-ended questions and leave time for critical thinking. Also will consider using clickers this year in some programs to break up my time and boost interaction.
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Saturday, March 12, 2011

ESA branch meeting

This year our annual meeting is in Minneapolis. I've got a combination of talks and posters this year, including two students presenting.
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Saturday, March 5, 2011

field crop scout school

It's that time of year again to educate the newest watch of field scouts!! Hope there are lots of questions...
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