GFM Network News


Premature bleaching of wheat spikelet infected by fusarium head blight, 
which is expected to be more common this year.

The rains came and crop disease pathogens couldn’t be happier

Scouting regularly and intensely gives you the best chance of hitting the ideal fungicide window

Early season diseases generally passed crop growers by during the dry spring, but rainfall across much of the province means they need to keep a close watch now. “The dry conditions earlier this spring tended to slow things down, but we’ve had moisture occurring, and that has elevated the risk for diseases,” federal research scientist […] Read more

This plant was found in 2017 in a trial plot of a resistant variety that Scott Keller was growing. It turns out that bags of resistant varieties aren’t pure — and so a percentage could be a non-resistant variety, said Keller. “So even resistant canola seed can help spread clubroot!” he said in an email. Still, experts and agronomists urge producers to seed resistant varieties — something Keller and Alberta Canola chair John Guelly say isn’t happening often enough.

In denial? Farmers ‘failing’ in battle against clubroot

Scott Keller has crunched acreage numbers and found tight rotations and susceptible varieties are commonplace

For the last three years, Scott Keller has been crunching acreage numbers from the provincial crop insurer — and he’s not liking what he sees. “To me, everything the researchers and the Canola Council (of Canada) is saying that farmers should do; they’re not even doing anything outside of just adopting the resistant varieties,” said […] Read more


In a hot, dry year, you expect a lot of heat-loving pests, but that wasn’t the case this year in much of Alberta — although these fellows were more numerous south of Highway 1.

Hot, dry conditions drove down insect and disease pressure in 2018

By and large, producers didn’t see as much insect damage or disease loss this year

Crop yields in Alberta took a hit this year because of the hot, dry conditions — but the blow wasn’t as big as it could have been, thanks to decreased disease and insect pressure. “Across the province, we’re trending close to the five-year average, and the lack of disease and insect pressure may have helped […] Read more

What’s your biggest disease threat this year?

The weather will tell the tale, but there’s one crop disease 
‘producers should be thinking about and preparing for’

Predicting crop disease problems is like taking a shot in the dark at a moving target. “For disease to develop, we need certain weather, certain hosts, and certain pathogens, so it can really be like looking into a crystal ball,” said Stephen Strelkov, a professor and researcher at the University of Alberta. “As a result, […] Read more


For many, this seeding season will be the most stressful they have ever encountered.

Plant 2017: It’s all about making the best of a bad situation

It was never going to be good, but crop specialists say this seeding season may not be as bad as feared

To say that last year’s harvest season in Alberta was unusual would be putting it mildly. The exceptionally wet fall resulted in 967,569 unharvested acres reported to Agricultural Financial Services Corporation (AFSC) this past winter, representing millions of dollars in seed and inputs that have yet to be recouped. So the big question this spring […] Read more

Producers needed for blackleg survey

The Smoky Applied Research and Demonstration Association is conducting a blackleg survey and asking producers to collect samples while scouting canola fields. Virulent blackleg of canola is a fungal canker or dry rot disease that causes stem girdling and lodging. In heavily infested crops, up to 100 per cent of the stems may be infected, […] Read more


Fusarium graminearum survey underway

Alberta Agriculture and Forestry is conducting a survey on Fusarium graminearum to help better manage the disease. “For example, if you’re trying to prevent the introduction of the organism in an area, there are certain things you can do, but if it’s already there, the prevention practices aren’t going to work,” said provincial plant pathologist Michael […] Read more

White rot is one of the diseases showing up in Alberta garlic crops.

Garlic and onion disease survey underway

Samples across the province have revealed a number of diseases

Over the last several years, a number of issues has been observed in garlic crops in Alberta, with reduced yields, poor storability, and poor performance. Plant and soil samples collected from across the province in the last two years have found a number of diseases, including aster yellows, white rot (sclerotinia), fusarium basal plate rot, […] Read more


Keep watch for fusarium graminearum in cereal crops

The fungal disease is established in southern Alberta in areas especially under irrigation

Fusarium graminearum (Fg) is a serious fungal disease, affecting yield and quality. Recent surveys indicate Fg is established in southern Alberta and traces are present in central and northern regions of the province. “When weather conditions are favourable for infection, and in irrigated cropping systems, an in-crop fungicide application may be considered, but only provides […] Read more

Weather has always offered its fair share of risk when it comes to farming.

Things not going as hoped? That’s normal, says crop specialist

Whether it’s production conditions or markets, producers need to have a Plan B

Preparation is key when dealing with the unexpected, says provincial crop specialist Harry Brook. “There’s always a lot of talk about ‘normal’ when talking about cropping and agriculture,” said Brook. “Advanced planning and adjustments are needed to avoid possible devastating results when ‘normal’ doesn’t occur. Whether it applies to spring weather conditions or markets or […] Read more