GFM Network News


Premature bleaching of infected spikelet in wheat.

Don’t let your guard down — fusarium still a risk

Dry weather greatly reduced the incidence of the fungal disease last year, 
but the threat is likely greater than ever

Producers should be on the lookout for fusarium head blight this year, even though the incidence of the fungal disease was down in 2017. “Forecasting head blight is really quite challenging,” said Mike Harding, a research scientist and plant pathologist with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry. Read more: Provincial legislation isn’t helping fusarium battle, say seed growers […] 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


Blackleg lives up to its name but unless it is severe, blackening at the base shouldn’t significantly affect yield.

You’ve got blackleg in your fields — whether you know it or not

Blackleg was confirmed in 90 per cent of Alberta fields last year and is likely in every field, says expert

You probably already have blackleg in your field. But you just don’t know it. “When we did our survey in 2016, we found blackleg in almost 90 per cent of the fields we looked at,” said Mike Harding, research scientist in plant pathology with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry. “If we looked harder, we probably could […] Read more

A pea field affected by root rot often looks yellow and withered, but some infected fields don’t look as bad as others.

Root rot rears its ugly head — and there’s no treatment

Peas are the biggest concern and even when fields look OK, root rot can still be there

Pulse acres have increased in Alberta this year, but unfortunately root rot has increased as well. “We’re hearing and seeing evidence of pretty extreme root rot in pulses, especially peas,” said Mike Harding, research scientist and plant pathologist with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry. “It doesn’t look like it’s going to be a great year for […] Read more


The wheat streak mosaic virus hasn’t been in the province for over a decade, but has been popping up in Alberta over the past two years.

Wheat streak mosaic virus returns to Alberta

Producers are being urged to be on the lookout and take steps to keep the virus from spreading

Wheat streak mosaic virus hasn’t been seen in the province for more than a decade, but it’s making a comeback this year. “Last year we had a dozen or so fields in southern Alberta that tested positive for or were assumed to be wheat streak mosaic, based on the symptoms,” said Mike Harding, research scientist […] Read more

Cereal Cyst Nematode confirmed in Montana

The effects of Cereal Cycst Nematode (CCN) can be confused with Rhizoctonia root rot. Now is the time to watch for signs/symptoms of this pest in cereals. For more information on what symptoms and signs look like, see the Montana AgAlert for CCN. To learn more, or to see more MSU alerts, visit the Montana […] Read more


Stripe rust update for southern and central Alberta

Stripe rust continues to be reported in southern and central Alberta. Eric Amundsen at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada in Lethbridge surveyed winter wheat fields for stripe rust last week and reported finding the disease in five of 12 fields (two in Cardston County, one field in each of Lethbridge County, County of Warner and M.D. […] Read more

Stripe rust alert in Alberta

Disease found in Oregon three weeks earlier than ever recorded

Alberta Agriculture plant pathologist Mike Harding has issued a bulletin noting that stripe rust alerts have been issued for Oregon and Montana. A Jan. 19 Capital Press story says stripe rust has been discovered in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. Oregon State University plant pathologist Chris Mundt and three extension researchers issued an alert Jan. 19 informing […] Read more