In Alberta, Municipalities have responsibilities to protect the agricultural productivity of their municipality under the Agricultural Pests Act of Alberta.  Like the Weed Control Act, the Agricultural Pests Act (APA) and its Regulations are empowing legislation.  The Act is Provincial, but the responsibility to enforce it is delegated to the local municipality.  Under the Act, landowners have a responsibility to prevent the establishment of or to control pests on their property.  The main pests of concern in this M.D. are Clubroot, Wild Boar, Rats, Fusarium graminearum, grasshoppers and Virulent Blackleg.

Clubroot of Canola
In 2007 the Minister of Agriculture added Clubroot (Plasmodiophora Brassicae) as a Pest under the Regulations of the APA.  Clubroot is a potentially devastating disease which affects cruciferous plants (canola and cabbage families).  It causes the roots to form galls, preventing the plant from taking up nutrients and water, eventually prematurely killing the plant.  In the most heavily infected fields around Edmonton, crops were left without harvesting them (what remained wasn’t worth harvesting).  Clubroot spores can stay dormant in soil for nearly 20 years.  When Canola or other brassicae plants begin to grow the Clubroot resting spores sense their presence, germinate and actually ‘swim’ through the soil moisture to infect the plants.  The roots are infected and the disease multiplies within it forming zoospores which are released back into the soil to reinfect the plant in different areas as well as infecting neighboring plants.

Clubroot is not known to spread with seed or residue, but it does spread with soil.  The best way to prevent its introduction is to ensure any equipment brought onto your land, including your own, custom operators’, construction and oil & gas exploration equipment is cleaned of all soil.  If equipment is coming from a known infected area, it should also be disinfected after it has been thoroughly cleaned.

More information on Clubroot can be found at:

Alberta Agriculture: http://www1.agric.gov.ab.ca/$department/deptdocs.nsf/all/agdex8593
Canola Council of Canada: http://www.canola-council.org/clubroot/identify_clubroot.aspx

The Alberta Clubroot Management Plan was developed by the Alberta Clubroot Management Committee to give producers and industry representatives information on how to prevent the spread of this disease: http://www.canola.ab.ca/clubroot_management_plan.pdf

The M.D. of Smoky River Policy on clubroot can be viewed upon request to the Agricultural Fieldman at 780-837-2221 ext 115 or e-mail: asb@mdsmokyriver.com

Wild boar, when at large
In the spring of 2008, wild boar when at large was added as a pest to the APA by the Minister of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.  In October of 2008, the Minister announced a program whereby municipalities could enter into agreement and pay $50 per pair of wild boar ears to area residents.  The M.D. entered into the agreement and also decided to increase the incentive to $100 per pair of ears in the hopes of eradicating this agricultural pest.  The program is set to end in March 2018.  Only wild boar legally harvested in the M.D. of Smoky River is eligible for this program. Should you need further information don’t hesitate to contact the Agricultural Fieldman 780-837-2221 ext. 115 or e-mail: asb@mdsmokyriver.com

Fusarium Headblight (FHB) of Cereals
Fusarium head blight is a fungal disease of cereals (including wheat, barley and corn) which causes reduced yields and produces mycotoxins. These mycotoxins cause reduced feed intake and efficiency in livestock even at extremely low levels, especially for swine.  If the mycotoxins are present in the grain used for beer production, the beer will gush and foam when opened, not a desirable trait. It is a serious threat to Alberta’s cereal industry.

Fusarium graminearum, is one of the causal agents of FHB, it is F. graminearum that is a declared Pest under the Agricultural Pests Act of Alberta.  There are other Fusariums that cause FHB, but F. graminearum is the one that results in the greatest levels of mycotoxins and so is of greatest concern.

To learn more about the identification and biology of Fusarium graminearum, check out:

http://www1.agric.gov.ab.ca/$department/deptdocs.nsf/all/agdex5210

Please contact us at 780-837-2221 ext. 115 or e-mail asb@mdsmokyriver.com if you have any questions or concerns.  As time permits this page will be updated with information on other Pests and Nuisances of concern in the M.D., check back often!