Alta. takes key step in FHB management

Alta. takes key step in FHB management
Jun 05, 2020

The ag industry can better manage fusarium head blight, thanks to the provincial government’s removal of Fusarium graminearum from the pest act 

Staff Writer

The Alberta ag industry can now take a province-wide, rather than regulatory, approach to dealing with Fusarium head blight (FHB).

This well-known disease infects cereal crops and produces mycotoxins.

On June 3, the Government of Alberta announced the removal of Fusarium graminearum, the fungus that causes FHB, from the Pest Nuisance Control Regulation in the Agricultural Pests Act.

In 1999, Alberta declared fusarium graminearum a pest and added it to the Agricultural Pest Act. The act stipulated the necessary control measures.

When the Government of Alberta made this move, officials “felt that it was a seed-borne problem but it's actually an airborne spore. So, they were legislating against the wrong thing. And now that they've removed it (from the regulations), we can move forward with best management practices and how to deal with the situation at hand,” said Tom Coppock, president of Alberta Seed Processors.

Ag industry stakeholders have advocated for this move for several years.

“The outdated legislation was a burden to what we are doing,” Coppock told

Now, industry leaders can modernize the management of FHB, instead of having zero tolerance for it, the province’s release stated.

“We're happy to see the change,” said Coppock.

The FHB working group is developing a website where people can find resources on FHB mitigation and best management practices. Producer-led organizations (such as Alberta Seed Processors), bioscience companies and producers are members of the working group.

“Now … we can move forward in a cohesive manner,” said Coppock.

mareandmare/iStock/Getty Images Plus photo

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