On Friday, August 30, Agriculture and Forestry Minister Devin Dreeshen toured the department’s Crop Diversification Centre North to get a first-hand look at Agriculture and Forestry’s pest surveillance work.

Pest surveillance covers dozens of municipalities, MDs and Special Areas in Alberta, as well as fields within city boundaries like Edmonton and Calgary to collect data from the entire province.

Pest surveillance helps safeguard Alberta’s valuable crop commodities from pest threats and helps maintain our reputation of producing high quality crops. Alberta is well-known for its canola, and rightfully so - our farmers work hard to ensure it’s as safe and nutritious as possible. Part of that work involves surveying for pests and diseases, work that involves multiple people across borders and organizations.

“Our canola farmers produce high-quality canola that meets and exceeds international standards,” says Dreeshen. “We do what we can to help them out by having the best crop assurance system out there.”

Diseases like bacterial pod spot can have a detrimental impact on our trade relationships. The pathogen that causes it, Pseudomonas syringae pv. maculicola, is a regulated pathogen in some countries that import Canadian canola. As its name suggests, bacterial pod spot causes water soaked lesions/spots on the pods of canola.

Pest and disease surveys give crop specialists an idea of the presence of a disease like bacterial pod spot. For pathogens that are known to occur in the province like clubroot, surveillance can help determine the distribution of the disease across the province, or help understand how levels are changing. From there, they can inform and advise decision makers on next steps.

Recognizing the wide-ranging impacts of crop diseases to trade and the economy, multiple people across borders and organizations are working together. Alberta is working with Saskatchewan and Manitoba for a prairie approach, with every province using harmonized survey protocols to cover about 200 fields each. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is conducting the testing, and Alberta is also involving their provincial diagnostic lab, the Alberta Plant Health Lab.

Contact

For more information, call the Ag Media Line:

Hours: 8:15 am to 4:30 pm (open Monday to Friday, closed statutory holidays)
Phone: 780-422-1005
Toll free: 310-0000 before the phone number (in Alberta)