County getting a handle on clubroot

Richard Froese
For the Lakeside Leader

Clubroot disease has spread to several farm fields in Big Lakes County since the first incident was reported in July.
At its Nov. 29 meeting, council was updated on what the county’s Ag Services Board has been doing about it. Ag Fieldman Sheila Kaus informed council an extensive survey of canola fields resulted in 20 that tested positive for the clubroot pathogen. It’s a first for the county, she said.
“In total, seven producers will be served with pest notices in accordance with ASB policy, and their fields will be barred from planting canola until after 2021,” she said. “We are working with five other producers on the issue.”
A recent update of the policy allows for producers to work with the county, should the infestation level be less than 10 per cent.
A risk-assessment map is available to the public to indicate positive fields.
“A lot of the policy comes from the provincial government and we just have to enforce and regulate it,” said reeve Ken Matthews. “We want to control it.”
However, since the policy was updated by council on Aug. 30, changes have sparked some concern.
“Since the discovery of clubroot in the county there have been comments that the consecutive limitation imposed by the ASB on clubroot-positive fields is too harsh,” Kaus said.
However, that is the time recommended by Alberta Agriculture and Forestry.
“It is important to understand that these control measures represent a minimum standard that is to be applied in all municipalities,” Kaus said, adding that they are legally supportable. Producers can appeal their notices.

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