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Agricultural Services Topics and Tips

Click the link to view more information on the role of Alberta's Agricultural Service Boards: Alberta ASBs

In Southern Alberta, it is not uncommon to experience cycles of freezing and thawing, along with high winds.  These conditions can make soil susceptible to erosion.  When these weather conditions occur, producers are encouraged to monitor fields for erosion and take steps to prevent future issues. 

Soil erosion can be devastating as it causes substantial damage to agricultural land and subsequent losses in crop production.  For each inch of topsoil lost to erosion, crop yields can be lowered by several bushels per acre.  Erosion also removes nutrients from the soil, making it less productive.

The Agriculture Service Board is mandated by the Alberta Soil Conservation Act to “prevent the loss or deterioration of soil from taking place.” 

Allowing your soil to blow and erode is an infraction under the Soil Conservation Act.  To learn more about this, click the link: Article: Yes, Blowing Soil Breaks a Law

If a field has begun to experience soil erosion, there are many steps you can take.  Lethbridge County has knowledgeable staff that can assist in preventing and reducing soil blowing as a result of erosion.   The ASB has equipment such as a bale processor, straw crimper, chisel plow equipped with Lister shovels, and heavy equipment with rippers available to assist landowners.  Please do not hesitate to call the County’s resources if assistance is needed.  Staff can be reached at (403) 732-5333 Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

For more information on soil erosion, click the following links: 

Click the link for more information: Burning Un-Harvested Crops

Clubroot is a serious soil-borne disease of canola, mustard and other crops in the cabbage family.
Cole crop vegetables like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, Chinese cabbage, kale,
kohlrabi, radish, rutabaga, and turnip are susceptible to clubroot, as are many cruciferous weeds
like wild mustard, stinkweed and shepherd’s purse.

As the name of this disease suggests, roots of infected plants may exhibit a club-like appearance.
However, overall symptoms will vary depending on the growth stage of the crop when it becomes
infected. Infection at the seedling stage can result in wilting, stunting and yellowing symptoms
by the late rosette to early podding stage, while premature ripening or death can be observed in
canola or mustard plants nearing maturity. Plants infected at later growth stages may not show
wilting, stunting or yellowing, but may still ripen prematurely and seeds may shrivel, thus reducing
yield and quality (oil content). The objective of the Clubroot Management Plan is to minimize yield
losses due to clubroot and reduce the further spread and buildup of clubroot in canola, mustard
and market garden vegetable fields in Alberta.

Michael Harding, a Research Scientist from Alberta Agriculture and Forestry tells us, “Harvest time
is an ideal time to scout for clubroot for two reasons. The first is that the disease symptoms have
reached their apex and they’re easy to spot by pulling up the roots. The second reason is that
for fields that are swathed, if you can get in during swathing, or right after the swather, it’s much
easier to move and walk through the fields and scout multiple areas. Make sure to look in areas
around low spots or along fence lines or shelterbelts where snowdrifts accumulate. The field
entrance is also a good place to scout, and anywhere the growth is unthrifty or poor, or where
weedy patches exist. Early detection makes an infestation manageable.”

For more information on scouting for fields call the Lethbridge County Agriculture Service Board
at (403) 732-5333. The Alberta Clubroot Management Plan is available at

Clubroot Information Document

Click the links for fact sheets on trees and shelterbelts:

View the videos below for more information on the importance of shelterbelts on rural properties, and how to establish them:

Part 1 - Why Plant Trees and Shelterbelts

Part 2 - Benefits of Shelterbelts

Part 3 - Steps to Establish Shelterbelts

Part 4 - Tree and Shrub Selection for Shelterbelts

Part 5 - Tree Species

Part 6 - How to Plant Trees

Part 7 - Weed Control for Shelterbelts

Part 8 - Follow Up Care for Shelterbelts