The Crop Pros learn at Diagnostic Days
By Elliott Vince
On July 6th, 2017, the Merlin 4-H Crop Pros along with the Blenheim 4-H Crop Club had a Diagnostic Day at the University of Guelph Ridgetown Campus. Anne Verhallen started the meeting by saying the 4-H pledge. We then went on a wagon ride out to the fields.
Anne then separated us into three different groups. First, we went to a station where there were two women who talked to us about the western bean cutworm. They explained to us that the moths are harmful because in August they lay eggs on the corn plant. The eggs then hatch and the worms then eat into the corn and this causes disease. The eggs are said to take 5-7 days to hatch.
After that, we walked to the second station where a man named Jason talked to us about sprayers and pesticides. Pesticides are useful but dangerous because using pesticides can kill unwanted insects in your field, however if you do not clean your sprayers when you have finished spraying, you can harm your sprayer and your field. He told us that if you spray 6 fields, you must clean it 6 times. He explained the cleaning procedure, and how certain dangers of the remaining pesticide can be avoided. He showed us a field where they tested the residue in the sprayer on the field, and most of the soybeans failed.
Then, we went to the second station where Mr. Dave Bileya talked to us about some dangerous weeds. He first talked about Rough and Stalked Blue Grass. It is said to invade wheat fields, making it dangerous. He explained about Annual Bluegrass, which is a weed that can cover an entire field, and it can grow and reproduce very quickly, making it a problem. He then told us about Scouring Rush, a weed that can grow in fields, thus killing the crops.
He explained about Dog Strangling Vine, which grows up on trees, then suffocates the trees from light, and kills it. It is also toxic to Monarch Butterflies, Deer and other animals. He showed us a plant called Wild Parsnip. If you come into contact with it, your skin will erupt in sunburn, and it will get worse each time you go out into the sun, unless it is covered.
We rode back on the wagons to the main campus. The meeting was then adjourned.