Rural Vegetation Control
The Smoky Lake County Agricultural Services Board (ASB) will be following our complete Vegetation Management Plan (VMP) for this growing season. The VMP will work in conjunction with the Weed Inspection and Notice program as well as coincide with Public Works Brushing and Construction schedules.
A “Reverse Fence line” Spray Program will be offered. Applicants can apply to have their field margins sprayed from their property line outwards into the County Right of Way to control invasive species on fence lines and field margins. Please contact the ASB for more information.
All aspects of the VMP will fall under Policy Statement # 62-15 “Vegetation Management Plan.” The tentative start date for Roadside Spraying is June 1st.
Landowners who do not want spraying to occur on the right of way adjacent to their property can come to the County office and fill out a “Right of Way Vegetation Control” (chemical spray exemption) application. All aspects of the “NO SPRAY” request fall under Policy Statement # 62-11 Weed Control “NO SPRAY” Request. Land owners are responsible for posting “DO NOT SPRAY” signs far enough in advance to give the sprayer operator enough notice to turn off sprayer.
Surveillance and Management
Canola crops throughout the county saw multiple pests have effect on yield during the year. Early south winds bring in leaf hoppers which in turn infected crops with Aster Yellows. Sclerotinia is prevalent and could be a concern again, along with Blackleg. Bertha Armyworms are above thresholds in some areas of the County however, are not a concern in others. They too could be an issue this year. Cereals saw leaf disease pressure throughout the year due to hot humid conditions. There have been some reports of Fusarium and the ASB will be monitoring this situation closely. The Smoky Lake County ASB would like to advise all producers to vigilantly scout their crops throughout the season. ASB staff will be monitoring for diseases and insects throughout the season as well.
This year saw no reported cases of clubroot in the County. However; the Smoky Lake County Agricultural Services Board has a policy to address any concerns in the future. Policy Statement # 62-12 recognizes that clubroot is a serious problem, and that Smoky Lake County supports the principal to control the spread of clubroot, which is a pest, under the Alberta Agricultural Pests Act
The Agricultural Service Board will continue to survey locations within the County to detect any signs of clubroot. It is highly recommended that farmers take a pro-active approach to check their own fields for clubroot and if found to report it to the Agricultural Field man. It would be a benefit, if the producer knows, so he can prevent further spread of the disease to other fields and manage his existing field. Policy Statement # 62-13
Clubroot can spread via contaminated soil carried from field to field by equipment, wind and water. It is recommended to blow or wash off dirt from equipment before moving to a new field.
New varieties of canola are being developed that are clubroot resistant, but it does not reduce the infestation of clubroot in a field. Crop rotations are a major tool in helping reduce the infestation of clubroot. Remember, once you have clubroot, your rotations will be monitored and canola crops could be destroyed if the producer does not comply with the rules and regulations
Canada Thistle is a common and widespread invasive species with high densities throughout Smoky Lake County causing major losses in pasture utilization as well as crop yield in cultivated land. Although a prolific seed producer much of its reproduction is from its large creeping root system, which enables it to tolerate a large amount of disturbance throughout the growing season. To eradicate Canada Thistle, its roots must be the target of any management program. In crop applications of herbicide as well as mowing will help suppress the plant growth, but a fall application of a systemic herbicide (pre or post harvest) provides the greatest opportunity for eradication. In pasture Canada Thistle infestations are most often a result of overgrazing and unsound pasture management. A multi tool approach including correct stocking rates, sustainable grazing practices, mowing, fertilizing and herbicide application is needed to bring infestations under control and eradicated.
Fusarium Head Blight
Fusarium head blight (FHB) caused by Fusarium graminearum, and is a serious fungal disease of wheat, barley, oats and other small cereal grains and corn.
Fusarium graminearum has been present at very low levels in Alberta since 1989. It has been increasing in incidence and severity in southern Alberta, where in 2009 it resulted in grade reductions due to the presence of FDK’s especially in highly susceptible wheat varieties grown under irrigation, but the pathogen remains relatively rare in the rest of the province at this time.
Although we have not had any major outbreaks in this area it is still important to know what to look for. Click on the link below to view some very important (FHB) information or contact the Smoky Lake County Agricultural Services Board @ (780) 656-3730 for more information. For details, please contact Agricultural Field person Tori Dey at the Smoky Lake County Office at 780-656-3730 or by e-mail. Agricultural Fieldman