Fields should be scouted regularly for stripe rust, say pathologists.  |  File photo

Stripe rust found in winter wheat in southern Alberta

Some advice is so good that it is worth repeating. So it is with plant pathologist Mike Harding’s advice regarding stripe rust: scout your fields. The crop fungus has had a resurgence in some parts of Alberta, fostered by recent showers and cooler weather. Harding reported that researcher Krishan Kumar found higher levels of stripe […] Read more

The map shows the total number of reverse wind trajectories from prairie locations that have originated from the southern U.S. and Mexico between April 1 and May 28, 2015. These winds have the potential to boost the migration of AY leafhoppers, which in turn can transmit the bacterium-like organism called a phytoplasma that causes aster yellows.

Aster yellows not a risk, thanks to wind

Aster yellows disease and diamondback moths are not expected to be big problems this year because of favourable spring wind patterns, says a researcher. Agriculture Canada and Environment Canada have created a model that measures wind trajectory at 50 locations across Canada. “To date, we haven’t had a lot of winds that have a lot […] Read more

Ergot often starts in ditches so mowing grass is advised.  |  File photo

Control measures urged to keep diseases from spreading

LETHBRIDGE — Bumper crops made headlines across the Prairies last year, but plant diseases also reared their smutty heads. “The single most important factor that affects the development of infectious diseases is the weather,” said Ron Howard of the Alberta Crop Development Centre in Brooks, Alta. Mike Harding, a plant pathologist with Alberta Agriculture, warned […] Read more


Net form and net splotch are two diseases farmers must consider when selecting crop varieties.  |  Mary MacArthur photos

Variety selection key to disease control

Crop rotation also important | Scientist says canola-cereal rotation is not long enough

LACOMBE, Alta. — Neil Olstad used to buy his seed based on its yield potential. In the future, he plans to take a closer look at disease resistance. “I have a serious interest in leaf disease,” Olstad, who farms near Millet, Alta., said after spending a day in Lacombe listening to cereal disease specialists. “Every […] Read more

Farmers should monitor their canola crops to ensure sclerotinia doesn't cut into yields. | David Schritt photo

Conditions favour sclerotinia spread

Wet weather across much of the Prairies could create ideal conditions for the spread of sclerotinia, a fungal disease that affects canola and pulse crops and thrives under moist, humid conditions. With frequent rain across much of the West and ample soil moisture, conditions are favourable for the development of spore producing apothecia, small mushroom-like […] Read more


Ergot in red spring wheat rose significantly in the three prairie provinces last year due to wet conditions.  |  File photo

Ergot blamed on weather, poor rotations

A hard-to-control fungal disease that comes and goes in cereal crops has been on a rampage of late. “Close to 30 percent of the hard red spring (wheat) in Alberta last year was downgraded due to ergot, so that’s a pretty significant level,” said Kelly Turkington, a research scientist with Agriculture Canada’s Lacombe Research Centre. […] Read more