Here to learn, and hopefully help out!

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10 years 5 months ago #30363 by rishka
Hi there,

I'm just a farmer wannabe at the moment, finishing up a PhD in sustainable agriculture - but aim to eventually farm sheep and cattle... after starting out on a lifestyle block!

Kind of split between NZ and New York (upstate, where it's rural and GREEN!) for the forseeable future, but in NZ during the summer months. Which is holiday season... so am offering up my help to anyone in the South Island (but preferably Canterbury) who needs a holiday and therefore someone to look after their animals and farm while they're away. I can also help with some rabbit pest control!

I have been a house sitter in the past, and have looked after lifestyle blocks as part of that. Dogs, sheep, cattle, pigs, chickens, ducks, alpacas, llamas, goats, cats, parrots, pet rabbits/guinea pigs/rats/mice/chinchillas, vege gardens, fruit trees, grape vines... happy to look after them all.

I've been trying to find time to glean info from this site - in the finishing stages of my thesis though, so time away from it is... well. Limited.

Anyway, nice to be here - send me a message if you'd like to chat about a farm-sit opportunity!

Cheers!
Rishka

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10 years 5 months ago #409821 by Ruth
Your farm-sit offer is sadly in entirely the wrong place for me!

Your study though, sounds particularly interesting! What's the title of your thesis or your particular area of research?

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10 years 5 months ago #409828 by Aria
Welcome to the site - where are you planning to settle on completion of the PhD - the States or NZ? Good luck in those finishing stages!!!!

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10 years 5 months ago #409857 by igor
Are you going to publish your thesis on the internet? It might make very interesting reading for many of us.

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10 years 5 months ago #409862 by rishka
My work addresses biological control of pests by their natural enemies at the landscape and local scales, specifically non-crop vegetation effects. I used 30 vineyards in a landscape, and a couple of vineyard pest species to gauge differences, both are pests in other ag systems though - light brown apple moth (LBAM) and grass grub (except in vineyards it's the beetle that causes damage). I looked at predation rather than parasitism - there is a lot of info regarding the LBAM parasitoid wasps already out there.

The work has given me some interesting results, particularly in light of other research in the area (I have MANY MANY references if anyone's interested!). However, what I found most interesting was that it looks like small changes in the usual habitat management practices can have positive effects on predators of pests - great for growers, since often science misses the link needed to actually employ some of the good ideas. Lack of disturbance (letting weedy crop edges grow, and other ways to decrease disturbance to critter habitat without compromising yield) and selective disturbances such as mowing frequency etc encourage predators to stay in an area. It's not rocket science and already pretty well known, however usually it's in an organic context, and/or growers are told to plant all kinds of flowering plants all over the place - which takes time and money!

I'd be interested in anyone's experience of using biological control methods etc...?

Anyway, let me know if you're interested in references or where to get more info on this kind of thing. Other work has been done in lots of different crops, including stock feed such as brassica and lucerne.

I'll be travelling back and forth to the NY and NZ summers for the next 6-7 years all going well (boyfriend is American, gets deployed to Antarctica each summer), and I intend on getting a science and technical writing freelance gig underway, since I loved the writing part of the thesis and I think there's a gaping crevasse of availability of information between science and growers.. I reckon I can bridge that! So... any information/advice etc anybody might have on something like that would be most welcome.

Ok! I think I've written enough :) Oops!

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10 years 5 months ago #410003 by Andrea1
Where in upstate, rishka? We moved down to NZ 9+ years ago from just outside of Ithaca. Don't miss the winters, but do miss all the farmers markets and CSAs!!

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