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WHEREAS Alberta Agriculture, Food and Rural Development has endorsed and implemented a two-tier Fusarium Graminearum Management Plan, which states zero tolerance for cereal seed and management practices for cereal grain and cereal grain products that are to be used as feed; AND WHEREAS this two-tier Management Plan places extra testing and seed treatment costs on the province’s grain producers while at the same time giving livestock producers the option of best management practices vs. the zero tolerance testing options given to grain producers;AND WHEREAS Alberta Agriculture, Food and Rural Development previously set a precedent by paying for a Fusarium testing program; AND WHEREAS one segment of the agriculture industry should not be responsible for all the costs of monitoring and prevention when the problem affects the industry as a whole;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the AAMDC urge Alberta Agriculture, Food and Rural Development to implement a provincially funded testing program that covers the producers costs for the Fusarium Graminearum test.
Fusarium Graminearum is a seed-borne pathogen causing fusarium head blight, a major disease in wheat and barley, resulting in significant yield and quality loss. This disease has the potential of establishing in Alberta. Long-distance spread of this pathogen primarily occurs through the transport of infected grain (including corn) for feed or seed. Fusarium Graminearum also produces mycotoxins (deoxynivalenol (DON) and zearalenone) that can cause feeding reproductive disorders in livestock, especially pigs. These mycotoxins also have importance in food. The presence of DON also affects the taste of beer and causes gushing or excess foaming. DON also affects the bread making process; the colour of the flour is changed and bread does not rise normally. The baking process does not destroy DON. Under the new Fusarium Graminearum policy, grain producers importing seed will have to ensure that the seed has been tested and found to be free of Fusarium Graminearum. All cereal grain intended for use as seed in Alberta will have to be tested and found to be free of Fusarium Graminearum; this includes seed that originates in Alberta.Seed cleaning plants will ensure that the lots of seed they handle have been tested and found free of Fusarium Graminearum. All imported seed will have to be treated with a fungicide that lists fungi in the genus Fusarium in the list of fungi controlled. It is recommended that all seed grown in Alberta also be treated with a fungicide registered for control of fungi in the genus Fusarium.The costs for testing Fusarium Graminearum are approximately $85 per sample, and the testing cost for DON is approximately $45 per sample. The sampling time for these above tests takes anywhere from 5 to 10 days. The grain producer will no longer be able to clean seed directly off the combine, which will add additional transportation and storage costs. Hay and straw can also be carriers of Fusarium Graminearum and this segment of agriculture is not being asked to bear the costs of testing. Conclusion:The costs of Fusarium Graminearum testing should not be totally borne by the grain producer. Fusarium Graminearum is a disease that affects all levels of agriculture from grain production to livestock feeding to grain exporting and the processing industry. The Government of Alberta has already set a precedent with a funding program last year. The provincial government should again implement a program that offsets the grain-producers cost of testing.
The AAMDC has no resolutions currently in effect with respect to this issue.