I recently purchased a “no-name“ infrared filter for my Pentax *istDL digital SLR camera. It is an OEC IR 720 52mm . I have tested it out and it seems to work OK although I do have to play with it for a bit to optimize picture quality. I took a picture of a young sugar maple in our yard using my old fixed length Image Brand 28mm wide-angle lens (1/1500 sec, f 8.0, ISO 200,  Exp Comp 0.0).


Young Maple At Dragonfly Meadow -Normal Image

Young Maple At Dragonfly Meadow -Normal Image



 I then put on my new infrared filter and tried several manual settings. One of the best combinations was (1/20 sec, f 8.0, ISO 800, Exp Comp +2.0). This resulted in the following picture.



Young Maple At Dragonfly Meadow -IR 720 Fiter

Young Maple At Dragonfly Meadow -IR 720 Fiter



I then modified the image in my iDImager software to get the traditional white and black look that is used to display IR photos. I did this by setting the saturation to -5, using color correction (Red=0, Green=100, and Blue=100), and then as a final touch used AutoFix. This resulted in the following picture.


Young Maple At Dragonfly Meadow -B&W IR Image

Young Maple At Dragonfly Meadow -B&W IR Image


I will have to do more reading and experimentation to get more great IR photos – but at least I know I can. Hopefully I will get skilled enough with this technology that I can test new ways to adjust crops since crop health is related to their IR measurements.

I recently attended a tour of Bill and Marie Linden’s Saskatoon fruit orchard in Portage la Prairie. Saskatoon berries are native to Manitoba and have historically been widely used as a native Prairie fruit crop – but in recent years it has become an exciting new commercial crop in Manitoba. The first saskatoon orchards were planted around 20 years ago. There is estimated to be approximately 170 saskatoon growers in Manitoba with about 10 commercial orchards, The saskatoon berry the second largest commercial fruit crop in Manitoba (next to strawberries). Studies indicate that the anthocyanin content and antioxidant activity in saskatoons is comparable to values reported for blueberries. This nutraceutical benefit is helping to promote interest in consumption of saskatoons. During the tour I got to see demonstrations of a mechanical harvester and their cleaning and sorting table. I also got to do some tasting as well, as saskatoon picking season had just begun. The following is a picture of some saskatoon fruit “on the bush”.

Saskatoon Berries On Bush

Saskatoon Berries On Bush

I have noticed for many years that when I listen to music in the dark or even in dimmer light that the sound quality just seems so much better to me than when I listen in the daylight – probably on the order of  at least twice as good. I have asked lots of friends if they have ever observed this and apparently I am the only one – they usually look at me and say what are you talking about? I also did a quick search on the internet and could only find that people who listen to “dark music” often prefer to listen to their tunes in the dark – but that isn’t what I’m talking about. Even “sunny music” sounds better to me as it becomes dark. I’ve decided to put this out on the world wide web just to see if anyone else has experienced this effect and to let them know that they “are not alone”.

Since WordPress is now allowing 3GB of storage I thought I would place my Ph.D. thesis on my Blog site and see how it lists in search engines.

Wilcox, Douglas Howard, Ph.D., The University of Manitoba, February 1995, Models of Interference in Monocultures and Mixtures of Wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) and Quackgrass (Elytrigia repens (L.) Nevski.). 265 pgs.

Abstract (downloads follow): Quackgrass is the most serious perennial grassy weed of wheat in Manitoba. Field experiments and surveys investigating the nature and extent of interference in monocultures and mixtures of quackgrass and wheat were conducted over the years 1987 to 1989 at Portage La Prairie, Manitoba, Canada.

Intraspecific and interspecific interference between spring wheat and quackgrass was investigated in the field using an additive series design consisting of five replacement series proportions at total stand densities of 75, 150, and 300 plants sqM. A revised synthetic no-interaction analysis determined that wheat was superior to quackgrass in both intraspecific and interpecific interference and that niche dedifferentiation was large. Quackgrass reproductive variable were less sensitive to interspecific interference than were vegetative variables.

Surveys of commercial fields of spring wheat infested with quackgrass were conducted using a dynamic stratified random sampling design in which systematic samples were taken at approximately 30, 60 and 93 days after planting. Wheat yield loss, as a percentage of weed-free yield, (Yw%) was related to spring quackgrass shoot counts/m-2 (Qs) by a rectangular hyperbolic model of the form

Yw% = 98.7(1-0.433(Qs)/100(1+(0.433(Qs)/193.7))).

Wheat kernel weight was the wheat yield component most influenced by quackgrass infestation. In quackgrass populations the majority of new rhizome production occurred during wheat senescence and biomass partitioning to heads increased as quackgrass infestation increased. Allometric models of the relationship between quackgrass parts were site specific and generally became more accurate the later the sampling date.

A set of models relating spring quackgrass infestation to yield losses in hard red spring wheat, flax, and polish canola were combined with allometric models in a multi-year spreadsheet (Lotus 1-2-3, v 3.1) model. Simulations run using the multi-year model demonstrated the potential of a spreadsheet model of assisting in weed control decisions.


PDF – quackgrass_phd_1 – Cover Sheets, Acknowledgments, Table of Contents, List of Tables, List of Figures

PDF – quackgrass_phd_2 – Abstract, Forward, Introduction

PDF – quackgrass_phd_3 – Literature Review

PDF – quackgrass_phd_4 – Chapter 1 – Interference Modelling of Wheat (Triticum aestivum) and Quackgrass (Elytrigia repens) Grown in an Additive Series.

PDF – quackgrass_phd_5 – Chapter 2 – Models of Quackgrass (Elytrigia repens) Interference in Spring Wheat (Triticum aestivum).

PDF – quackgrass_phd_6 – Chapter 3 – Allometry in Quackgrass (Elytrigia repens) Infesting Spring Wheat (Triticum aestivum).

PDF – quackgrass_phd_7 – Chapter 4 – A Deterministic Empirical Model of Quackgrass (Elytrigia repens) Interference in Spring Annual Crops.

PDF – quackgrass_phd_8 – General Discussion, Summary and Conclusions, Suggestions for Further Work

PDF – quackgrass_phd_9 – Literature Cited

PDF – quackgrass_phd_10 – Appendix 1 – Modelling Light Transmittance and Light Use Efficiency in Wheat and Quackgrass Grown In Additive Series.

PDF – quackgrass_phd_11 – Appendix 2 – Climatic Data for the University of Manitoba, Portage La Prairie, Research Station During the Growing Seasons of 1987, 1988 and 1989.

PDF – quackgrass_phd_12 – Appendix 3 – Water Use and Water Use Efficiency (WUE) in the Additive Series Experiments.

PDF – quackgrass_phd_13 – Appendix 4 – Soil Nutrient Change in the Soil Beneath Treatments of the Additive Series Experiment.

PDF – quackgrass_phd_14 – Appendix 5 – Quackgrass Spreadsheet Model Cell Format Codes.

Since WordPress is now allowing 3GB of storage I thought I would place my thesis on my Blog site and see how it lists in search engines. The first is my M.Sc. Thesis:

Wilcox, Douglas Howard, M.Sc., The University of Manitoba, May 1986, Biology and Control of Bromus pectinatus Thunb., 177pgs.

Abstract (downloads follow) – Investigations into the biology and control of the annual grassy weed Bromus pectinatus Thunb. were conducted at the National Plant Breeding Station, Njoro, Kenya, from 1982 to 1984.

B. pectinatus is described and, in the tradition of other Bromus sp. of similar morphology, the common name Kenya Chess is proposed for B. pectinatus.

Pot growth of B. pectinatus was influenced by soil type and microclimate, but not by seed origin. B. pectinatus was germinated and grown in amended and untreated soils ranging in pH from 3.05 to 8.13. Soils with a pH near 3 could not support growth or germination of B. pectiqatus. B. pectinatus grew best on a soil of pH 6.55 and when soil pH influenced germination the optimum soil pH was 6.0. Out-of-doors grown B. pectinatus matured earlier and had fewer culms than plants grown in the shadehouse or glasshouse.

Exposure to light during germination, inhibited the germination of B. pectinatus seeds. Germination of B. pectinatus seed was most rapid at a 17 C temperature. Prechilling or preheating seeds did not promote germination of dormant B. pectinatus seeds. Germination of dormant B. pectinatus seeds was enhanced by seed hull removal or pricking the lemma or removing the rachilla segment.

Germination of B. pectinatus seed in the soil was unaffected by depth of burial, whereas, emergence was reduced to 35, 19, 11, 4 and 0% from depths of 0, 1, 2, 4 and 8 cm, respectively.

There was a relationship between field emergence of B. pectinatus and the precipitation pattern. After-harvest germination of B. pectinatus seed indicated that there was an innate dormancy in hulled seed which persisted for 8 months. The innate dormancy was mainly induced by the seed hull, but was also induced within the caryopsis itself.

Field measurements were used to develop an equation which related yield loss in wheat with B, pectinatus infestation. Delayed sowing of wheat and barley into a B. pectinatus infested site resulted in yield reductions that were correlated with length of delay.

Replacement series studies were conducted using varying proportions of wheat : B. pectinatus and rapeseed : B. pectinatus. Varying the proportions resulted in growth changes in the plants. B. pectinatus maturation was delayed when grown in a mixture. Rapeseed / canola was unaffected by B. pectinatus interference.

A spatial interference study determined that B. pectinatus interfers with wheat mainly above ground.

The herbicides isoproturon, pendimethalin and oxadiazon were found to be ineffective against B. pectinatus, The herbicides triallate, chlorsulfuron, metribuzin, trifluralin and EPTC achieved limited control of B, pectinatus. Superior control of B. pectinatus was achieved using fluazifop-butyl at 0.25 kg/ha and fenthiaprop-ethyl at 0.12 kg/ha, in rapeseed / canola.


PDF – bromus_msc_1 – Cover Sheets, Acknowledgments, Table of Contents, List of Tables, List of Figures

PDF – bromus_msc_2 – Abstract, Forward, Introduction

PDF – bromus_msc_3 – Literature Review

PDF – bromus_msc_4 – Chapter 1 – Bromus pectinatus Thunb. Morphology

PDF – bromus_msc_5 – Chapter 2 – The influence of Soil pH on the Morphology of Bromus pectinatus Thunb.

PDF – bromus_msc_6 – Chapter 3 – Factors Influencing the Germination and Emergence of Bromus pectinatus Thunb.

PDF – bromus_msc_7 – Chapter 4 – Field Emergence and dormancy of Bromus pectinatus Thunb.

PDF – bromus_msc_8 – Chapter 5 – Bromus pectinatus Thunb. Interference in Crops

PDF – bromus_msc_9 – Chapter 6 – Chemical Control of Bromus pectinatus Thunb.

PDF – bromus_msc_10 – General Discussion, Summary and Conclusions, Suggestions for Further Work

PDF – bromus_msc_11 – List of References

PDF – bromus_msc_12 – Appendix

The last time I was in Moncton, New Brunswick,  it was as a layover on my way back from PEI Agri-Insurance Research Conference. I spent the night in a “smoking room” because that was all that was left and as I registered I thought how bad could it be? Turns out it was awful and I will never do that again – the smoke permeated everything and seemed to get worse and worse as the night progressed.


I returned last week to Moncton  to attend another Agri-Insurance Research Conference. This time my stay was much better – for starters I was in a non-smoking hotel.  I stayed at the Delta Beausejour in the “tourist section” of Moncton. The hotel was fine, although the hallway and street noise could get a little loud occasionally. The hotel was within easy walking distance to a scenic and long walkway along the Petitcodiac river. The Petitcodiac connects to the Bay of Fundy about 30 km away. Because of this connection I got to see a “tidal bore” several times over the week. During a tidal bore the leading edge of the incoming tide forms waves of water that travel up the river against the direction of the current. The Petitcodiac has the nickname of “the chocolate river” because of its colour. A picture I took of the Petitcodiac during the tidal bore phase follows:


Petitcodiac During June Tidal Bore 

As part of the conference we got to spend part of one day touring some of the agriculture and aquaculture of New Brunswick. We went Verger Belliveau Orchards and saw the apples in bloom and toured their apple packing facility and fruit beverage cellar.


Apples floating


We then toured Captain Dan’s Lobster Plant while they were processing lobsters. Most of the processing is still done manually so there were a lot of workers on the factory floor. HACCP standards were applied so everyone was dressed in lab coats and hair nets and no cameras or jewelry were allowed. We then went to the Village Bay seafood oyster farm and packaging facility and were lectured on how the New Brunswick innovative cage system is used for oyster cultivation and harvesting. We also toured the oyster cages by barge.


Inverted Oyster Cages


We then drove through the Bell Mills Cranberry Farm and saw examples of the new cranberry bogs that New Brunswick would like to further enhance as an industry in their province. It would have been nice to get out and see the bogs but the producer was unavailable and we were running behind time.


\"Dry\" June Cranberry Bog


Finally we ended the day on a Shediac Bay Lobster Tales Boat tour. The crew were entertaining and there were live musicians. We socialized and learned about the lobster’s life cycle and how to eat them “the acadian way”. Lobster can be quite tasty even without garlic butter.


Lobster Demo


As you can tell it was a very full day and very educational. The following is a picture of the Dieppe region near the Moncton airport showing the Petitcodiac river from my airplane window as I left Moncton.

Moncton Airport Region

When Wanda was involved in the Crafters Hand store this past winter she was often criticized for charging too much for her saskatoon jams.  She was charging $5 per jar that her “competitors” in the same store were charging $3 for.  Wanda’s jams had a higher concentration of fruit, but other than that there was little difference to defend the pricing. There is a good article in a recent issue of the Farmers Market Association of Manitoba Co-op Inc. Newsletter <FMAM Newsletter Volume 2 Issue 1 – Released on January 29, 2008 > by Tamela Friesen that gives Wanda a good justification for her saskatoon jam pricing.

The article focuses on the fact that farmers’ market product costs matter – but that they are often not tracked enough, nor considered adequately in pricing. The article illustrates this using an example of homemade preserves and proves “that if you do not cost it, you likely spend more than you earn”.

According to the article homemade preserves involve the following costs: 

         “The least expensive jars were $0.66 each, including taxes.

         Pectin cost about $0.25 per jar.

         Sugar averaged about $0.22 per jar.

         Ingredients, if we picked them, were the cost of labour and any u-pick fees. In the case of saskatoon jam, a u-pick four-litre pail was $11.00, sans labour. That works out to nearly $1.00 per jar.

          Our best picker picked a pail in half an hour. If we pay ourselves $10/hour, that’s $5 per bucket … $0.50/jar for picking.

 Have you been keeping track? So far, the cost of producing our jar of jam registers at $2.63/jar. What’s still missing from the cost?

         Labour for cleaning and sorting berries and for cooking and processing the jam,

         electricity for the stove, labels, transportation to the market,

          labour at the market, & marketing materials.

         Need to use your air conditioning because your canning heated up the house too much? That counts too! 

 Commonly in restaurants, managers shoot to spend about 33% of costs on ingredients and packaging and 33% of costs on labour. The remainder covers things like equipment, hydro, marketing, and bank accounts — and, with any luck, profits. “  

The article indicates that to have a chance to breakeven on a jar of saskatoon jam, you would have to charge $7.89 per jar (or perhaps only $4.89 per jar if you have your own berries). Kind of makes Wanda’s $5 per jar seem very reasonable.Dragonfly Meadow Jam Display