+ RMA Rural Municipalities
of Alberta

Resolution 25-15F

Pedigreed Cereal Seed Testing for Fusarium graminearum

Date:
November 26, 2015
Expiry Date:
June 15, 2018
Active Status:
Expired
Sponsors:
MD of Smoky River
District:
4 - Northern
Year:
2015
Convention:
Fall
Category:
Agriculture
Status:
Archived
Vote Results:
Defeated
Preamble:

WHEREAS Fusarium graminearum has for years been considered the most serious disease of cereal crops in Canada affecting yield and grade, impacting the grains’ ability to be used for food, feed and malt; and

WHEREAS the most likely means of transmission of Fusarium graminearum from one area to another is with infected seed; and

WHEREAS the Canada Seeds Act regulates pedigreed seed, which means seed that is designated as “foundation”, “registered” or “certified”; and

WHEREAS the Federal Seeds Act and Regulation sets a precedence to prevent the spread of disease via seed as outlined in  Schedule I, Table I (applicable to wheat) which states a maximum number of ergot bodies that is allowable, and in Table II (applicable to Barley) which states  a maximum allowable percentages set for True Loose Smut; and

WHEREAS there is currently no requirement to have any grade of pedigreed cereal seed tested for Fusarium graminearum; and

WHEREAS setting a maximum allowable standard would, at minimum, make it a requirement that all Pedigreed cereal seed being sold in Canada be tested for the presence of Fusarium graminearum;

Operative Clause:

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties lobby the Government of Canada to amend the Seeds Act and Regulation to set allowable maximum levels of Fusarium graminearum for all grades of pedigree seed for cereal crops.

Member Background:

Fusarium graminearum (Fg) is one of the causal agents of Fusarium Head Blight (FHB).  When FHB is caused by Fg, it often results in significant yield and grade loss, light shriveled kernels and the presence of a mycotoxin called deoxynivalenol (DON) which is poisonous to humans and livestock above certain threshold levels.  Fg damaged kernels may prevent the grain from being used for flour, feed or as malt.

Fg was declared a pest in Alberta under the Agricultural Pests Act in 1999.

Currently the purchaser of seed must request the results of any Fg tests, but there are many types of tests available, and testing grain to be sold for seed is voluntary, not mandatory.  By adding it as a required test under the Seeds Act, the type of test performed would become standardized, and mandatory.

At the 2015 Provincial A.S.B. Conference the emergent resolution “Fusarium Graminearum Management Plan” was carried by the A.S.B.’s, direction from the Resolution was:

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT ALBERTA’S AGRICULTURAL SERVICE BOARDS REQUEST That Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development maintain the current tolerance level in the Fusarium Graminearum Management Plan with no detectable amount allowed.

FURTHER BE IT RESOLVED THAT ALBERTA’S AGRICULTURAL SERVICE BOARDS REQUEST That Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development keep Fusarium Graminearum on the Agricultural Pests Act as a Pest.

 Of important note; the resolution passed at the 2015 Provincial A.S.B. Conference does not request or state “zero tolerance” it asks for “no detectable amount allowed”.  The primary difference is that if Fg is present, and the seed is treated with a fungicide registered to control it and tested the disease is controlled and therefore “non-detectable”.  The Seeds Act makes the same “exemption” with True Loose Smut of Barley, it is only allowed at set levels, but it the seed is treated the levels no longer apply.

Requiring pedigreed cereal seeds to be tested under the federal Seeds Act would be complementary to Alberta’s Agricultural Pests Act.  Currently it is not mandatory for pedigreed seed to be tested, this would make it a required test, and the federal government would then set allowable limits as well as stipulating which specific type of test would be required.  The province can decide to accept those allowable limits, or they can set more stringent limits (but not less-stringent) under the Agricultural Pests Act.

 

 SCHEDULE I(Sections 2, 5 to 7, 11 and 12, 18, 23 to 27, 30 and 40)

TABLE I

Applicable to:

  • (a) Wheat, common — Triticum aestivum
  • (b) Wheat, durum — Triticum turgidum subsp. durum (Desf.) Husn. (= T. durum Desf.)

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

 

Maximum Number of Seeds per kg

   
 

Noxious Weeds

     

Minimum Percentage of Germination

Grade Name

Primary

Primary Plus Secondary

Total Weeds

Total Barley, Rye & Triticale

Other Crops Including Total Barley, Rye & Triticale

Additional Common Wheat in Durum Wheat & Durum Wheat in Common Wheat

Maximum Number of Ergot Bodies per kg

Common Wheat

Durum Wheat

1. Canada Foundation No. 1

0

0

2

0

0

0

1

85

80

2. Canada Foundation No. 2

0

0

4

1

2

0

8

75

70

3. Canada Registered No. 1

0

0

3

0

1

0

1

85

80

4. Canada Registered No. 2

0

0

6

1

2

0

8

75

70

5. Canada Certified No. 1

0

0

3

1

2

5

2

85

80

6. Canada Certified No. 2

0

0

6

2

5

10

8

75

70

7. Common No. 1

0

2

10

10

10

12

2

85

80

8. Common No. 2

2

4

20

20

20

24

8

70

70

TABLE II

Applicable to:

  • (a) Barley, six-row, two-row, hulless — Hordeum vulgare subsp. vulgare
  • (b) – (k) includes Bean, mung, Buckwheat, common, Buckwheat, tartarian, Emmer, Thell,
  • Lentil, Lupine, lupin, Oats including hulless, Rye, Spelt, Triticale

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

 

Maximum Number of Seeds per kg

     
 

Noxious Weeds

  

Maximum Number of Ergot Bodies per kg

 

Minimum Percentage of Germination

  

Primary Plus Secondary

       

Grade Name

Primary

In Oats

In Other Kinds

Total Weeds

Other Crops

In Barley & Oats

In Triticale & Rye

Maximum Percentage of True Loose Smut in Barley

Rye, Triticale, Hulless Barley & Hulless Oats

Other Kinds

1. Canada Foundation No. 1

0

0

0

2

1

1

2

2

75

85

2. Canada Foundation No. 2

0

0

0

4

2

8

10

4

65

75

3. Canada Registered No. 1

0

0

0

3

2

1

2

2

75

85

4. Canada Registered No. 2

0

0

0

6

4

8

10

4

65

75

5. Canada Certified No. 1

0

0

0

3

4

2

4

2

75

85

6. Canada Certified No. 2

0

1

1

6

10

8

15

4

65

75

7. Common No. 1

0

2

2

10

25

2

4

4

75

85

8. Common No. 2

2

4

4

20

50

8

15

6

65

75

 Fusarium takes toll on seed – Western Producer article

Posted Jan. 11th, 2013 by Brian Cross Fusarium cut grain yields by as much as 50 percent in some parts of the province, and the proportion of fusarium damaged kernels (FDK) in certified wheat and barley crops was unusually high, leading to additional cleanout losses of 30 percent or more.? | File photo

Yields cut by nearly half | Concerns rise over spread of disease through cleaned pedigreed seed

Fusarium graminearum took a huge bite out of pedigreed seed supplies in 2012, particularly in Saskatchewan where some seed growers harvested unusually small crops that were heavily infected with the disease.

Fusarium cut grain yields by as much as 50 percent in some parts of the province, and the proportion of fusarium damaged kernels (FDK) in certified wheat and barley crops was unusually high, leading to additional cleanout losses of 30 percent or more.

The disease’s prevalence is raising concerns about whether it is being spread via pedigreed seed that contains traces of fusarium graminearum, even after the seed has been cleaned and conditioned. Graminearum is the most aggressive and costly of the fusarium species.

The yield losses caused by fusarium will almost certainly result in regional shortages of certified wheat and barley seed, said Bruce Carriere, manager of Discovery Seed Labs.

“There’s going to be a seed shortage, big time,” Carriere said. “There are some growers that have nothing to sell.”

Fusarium losses in Saskatchewan varied from region to region and were largely influenced by local weather conditions.

Seeding date was also an important factor in determining overall infection rates.

Some crops planted in early to mid-May were heavily infected while others planted later experienced minor losses.

Overall, there were numerous hotspots where infections rates reached record levels and where fusarium graminearum was evident on more than 50 percent of harvested kernels.

Joe Rennick, a certified seed grower from Milestone, Sask., south of Regina, said certified seed crops on his farm produced variable yields, depending on when they were seeded.

In some instances, wheat crops that looked like they would produce 50 or 60 bushels per acre yielded in the mid 20s.

“In the crops that were affected, it really hit the yield hard,” said Rennick.

He said certified wheat crops that were hardest hit produced yields of 22 to 28 bu. per acre, a disappointing outcome considering the density of the stands.

Clean-out losses on that material could cut production by another 20 to 30 percent, pushing the total marketable yield of conditioned certified seed as low 15 to 20 bu. per acre.

The prevalence of fusarium in certified seed crops is prompting discussions about whether the pedigreed seed industry should establish fusarium thresholds on certified seed supplies.

Most fusarium damaged kernels can be cleaned out of pedigreed seed using a gravity table, but there is no guarantee that the remaining seeds do not carry traces of fusarium graminearum.

Commercial grain growers who buy certified seed are responsible for asking whether the seed has been tested for fusarium graminearum and whether fusarium damaged kernels were prevalent in pre-conditioned seed lots.

Growers who plant farm-saved seed should check seed for traces of the disease.

In Alberta, fusarium graminearum was declared a pest under the province’s Agricultural Pest Act in 1999.

The declaration, when combined with Alberta’s fusarium management plan, means there is a zero-tolerance threshold on pedigreed seed that contains detectable traces of fusarium graminearum.

In other words, it is illegal for any Alberta farmer to buy, sell, distribute or grow seed that is contaminated with the fungus.

The increasing prevalence of the disease in Western Canada has the Alberta government and some Alberta seed growers questioning whether the zero-tolerance policy for seed-borne fusarium graminearum should be revisited.

Fusarium has already been detected in cereal crops produced in southern Alberta in 2010 and 2011.

The disease has also been confirmed in the Peace River district.

As well, unusually wet weather in Alberta last year is expected to encourage the disease’s spread.

Gayah Sieusahai, chair of the province’s fusarium action committee, said plant pathologists are reviewing the province’s fusarium management plan.

Support for a zero-tolerance policy on seed-borne fusarium may be waning in Alberta, especially given that the disease has already been detected in the province.

As well, Sieusahai said it is difficult to ensure that all certified seed transported across the Saskatchewan-Alberta border is fusarium-free.

To complicate matters, plots of breeder seed planted at Agriculture Canada’s seed increase unit near Indian Head, Sask., were also heavily infected in 2012.

That has prompted concerns that breeder seed from Agriculture Canada’s newest and most promising cereal varieties may contain traces of fusarium graminearum, even after the seed has been cleaned and conditioned.

If that is the case, breeder seed from Agriculture Canada’s Indian Head facility would be prohibited from entering Alberta’s pedigreed seed system unless existing terms of the province’s fusarium management plan are amended.

Officials at Indian Head will be examining conditioned seed lots in early 2013 to determine if heat treatment procedures were effective in eliminating seed-borne traces of fusarium graminearum.

RMA Background:

2-03S: Zero Tolerance for Fusarium

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties urge the Government of Alberta to adopt a zero tolerance policy for Fusarium graminearum, including livestock feed.

DEVELOPMENTS: In recent years, the AAMDC has participated on the Alberta Fusarium graminearum Action Committee, which was formed in 2011 to provide the former Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development with advice on issues related to Fusarium graminearum. In 2012, the committee developed the Alberta Fusarium graminearum Management Plan, which included recommended best practices for mitigating the outbreak of Fusarium graminearum.

Provincial Ministries:
none
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