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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - October 1, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta LETHBRIDGE HERALD Oetotw 1. 1974 Research Station report: Leaf cutter bees help pollinate alfalfa DR. G. A. HOBBS Entomologist Alfalfa leafcutter bees are kept to pollinate alfalfa flowers and so ensure a good seed crop. But they often drift away from their point of release. Drifting has been particularly bad in 1974, probably because of the cool, windy weather when the bees were set out. They had not become familiar with their sur- roundings before they were grounded by bad weather. When the temperature rose, and they were able to take off again, they often flew to nearby buildings instead of to the shelters from which they came. Thus, leafcutter beekeepers had to allow for drifting out of the field this year, as well as within the field as is usual. We are learning how to cope with drifting within a fieeld by providing the bees with more attractive shelters near the center this is usually the least attractive area for the bees because there is little bare ground. For the past 3 years, the bees drifted to the east, so we placed large shelters, which we hoped would be more attractive than the standard type, in the west- central parts of the fields. Two types of large shelters were used. One was a standard shelter with a 4-x-8 sheet of plywood above and behind it. The second was a tall shelter that held two sets of hives, one above the DAVIS ENTERPRISES (ALBERTA) We Pay Highnt Prices for ALBERTA STEEL PRODUCTS Division ol Davis Industries Ltd. Dealers in New Structural Steel, Angles, Flats and Pipes (Wholesale Prices) Both Businesses Located at 1505 2nd Ave. S-, Lethbridge Phone 327-4035 or 327-6261 WRIGHT HOME FURNISHINGS Festival Just One Of Our Many Super Specials In Touch with Tomorrow IT'S A CONSOLE IT'S A PORTABLE 20" Color Solid State with 7 integrated picture tube for brighter, sharper more distinct fine tuning.Use as a portable or beautiful cabinet. SAVE ON ONLY Optional SERVICED ANYWHERE IN SOUTH ALBERTA HOME RHHNSHERS LTD other. Both types effectively in- duced the bees to stay where they were put and to pollinate the alflafa in the central parts of the fields. The shelter with two sets of hives appears to be suf- ficiently better to warrant its use wherever drifting is a problem. However, the shelter is awkward to transport and assemble and it must be. anchored with, guy wires. Because the income from selling surplus bees rivals that from selling the seed the bees helped to produce, it is well worth searching for bees that have drifted. A few days after the bees have been released at the shelters, buildings near the field should be visited, par- ticularly those to the east or surrounded by trees. If bees are hovering near the eaves, hives should be placed as high as possible beneath the eaves on the east sides of the buildings. Checks should be made later to ensure that there are sufficient nests. At one tree-enclosed farmstead, 30 hives had to be set out to provide hous- ing for the bees that drifted from the shelters. More nests were added twice because there were more bees hovering in front of the hives than there were tunnels in the hives. Bees recovered will probably equal those produced in three good shelters. Thus, the time and effort spent in scouting for bees and in setting out trap-nests will have paid off. Alfalfa growers in the United States are again en- quiring about buying bees. So, bees that nest elsewhere than in the hives may help to set seed but will not be an additional source of revenue. Wanted: disease resistant alfalfa By DR. E. J. HAWN Plant Pathologist Surveys of alfalfa in Southern Alberta this spr- ing showed that the number of unthrifty stands has increased. This was especially noticeable among those stands grown under irrigation. Disease symp- toms idicate winter injury caused by deep snow cover, ice sheeting, low temperature and by winter crown rot. Winter crown rot is caus- ed by a cold tolerant fungus that is active during alfalfa's dormancy. It causes serious losses in central and northern Alberta and central and north central Saskatchewan. Winter crown rot is also active in British Columbia, Manitoba, the Yukon, and Alaska. Damage is most servere when the plants have been covered by snow and when the snow has melted slowly in the spring. At the Lethbridge Reasearch Station, we are trying to incorporate resistance to winter crown rot into a cold hardy variety of alfalfa. A range of varieties and strains, particularly those with known or suspected resistance to winter crown rot, will be assessed in cold temperature cabinets and in the greenhouse and field. Crown bud rot is another important disease of alfalfa in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and British Columbia. It is caused by a group of soil borne fungi that are active throughout the growing season on all our recommended varieties. The disease, like winter crown rot. causes severe forage losses and limits the useful life of an alfalfa stand to three to four years. Thus, resistance to this disease must also be incorporated into new varieties. Crown bud rot is often associated with stem nematodes in alfalfa and these worms cause reduc- ed yields of alfalfa. The Canadian Chianina Associa- tion salutes Alberta Agriculture Week. CHIANINA.. contributing to the growth of the Alberta Cattle In- dustry oldest breed of cattle in the world, but still the breed of the future in North America The "Largest Cattle Breed" offers sjcexplosive growth rate :fsease of calving with strong, alert calves sfcclimate adaptability 4shigh fertility rate For more information on the Chianina Breed, contact Mr. Gordon Stephenson Secretary Manager Canadian Chianina Association 11th Avenue S.E. Calgary, Alberta Phone: 262-7756 1 I ;