Pests & Predators Podcast, Ep 25: 20 years of learning from surveys with so much more to do

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What can you learn from two decades of scouting canola fields? Turns out — a lot.

In this episode of the Pests & Predators Podcast, brought to you by Field Heroes, host Shaun Haney is joined by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada entomologist Jennifer Otani, based at Beaverlodge, Alta., to talk about those lessons learned from two decades of field surveys and why continued surveillance of insect species is so crucial.

Otani says there have been amazing discoveries made as part of the Peace Region canola survey project, discoveries that speak to the value of ongoing surveys year after year.

Originally started as a means to track the range of the cabbage seedpod weevil to the region, the Peace canola survey now has more than two decades of data to draw from on not just what pest species are lurking in farmers’ fields, but also what predatory and beneficial insect populations might be there as well.

Measuring that diversity over time is also a value of annual surveys, and Otani explains that one of the key benefits of these surveys is that they become a benchmark, too — something to compare and contrast against by season or by whole decades.

Farmers and land owners play a key role in keeping surveys going, as researchers and extension need permission to complete surveys. Otani hopes that by recognizing the value of ongoing field surveys, more people allow access, support, or contribute to the surveys.

Check out more of the Pests & Predators podcast series here!

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