Agriculture Services

Community Building, Relationship, Enhancement. Clearwater County administers programs that strengthen relationships in rural areas as well as relationships with urban communities.


Clearwater County Agricultural Services vision mandates the protection of Agricultural Resources. Invasive Plants pose a serious risk to agricultural production and the environment. World wide the biggest threat to bio diversity, next to soil erosion, is invasive plants, making weed control very important to ensure we preserve agricultural lands and the environment. Click here for a listing of weeds of concern in Clearwater County.

Agricultural Services provides producers and landowners of Clearwater County a Weed Extension program to help protect land from degradation and loss of production due to the spread and establishment of invasive plants. The weed extension program’s main focus is education and awareness to engage and empower producers and landowners to take ownership of their specific weed problem and to foster internal motivation in implementing a yearly weed control plan. The primary goal is to ensure individual weed infestations do not impact neighbouring properties. Weed extension coordinators work directly with producers and landowners to create and implement short and long term weed control plans, as well as protecting themselves from future establishing invasive plants.

Agricultural Services garners a high percentage of voluntary compliance through our Weed Extension Program focusing on education and awareness. In cases where voluntary compliance can not be reached Agricultural Services is obligated to harness the continued spread of invasive plants under the authority of the Provincial Weed Control Act. The Agricultural Service Board approves staff to issue notices; these notices outline the weed control expectations as well as the time frame to carry it out in. Should this notice expire and no acceptable level of control achieved, access to the land is granted by the notice and expenses incurred will be added to the landowner's taxes. This compliance tool is utilized as a last resort when all extension avenues have been exhausted.

Though there are a few, most notably Tall Buttercup and Wild Caraway, invasive plants that are well established within Clearwater County, there are many extremely threatening species not found in Clearwater County that are found in neighboring municipalities or throughout Alberta. Clearwater County has implemented an Eradicable Weeds Category. Staff monitors and recommends an annual eradicable weed species to the Agricultural Service board that set the eradicable weeds list and mandate staff to locate, control, document and monitor these species and locations at no cost to the landowner. This eradicable weeds list was implemented as an early detection rapid response procedure to ensure that no further invasive plants become established within Clearwater County. The eradicable weeds list can be found in the Agricultural Services policy handbook, or by contacting Agricultural Services.

The Agricultural Services board and staff are always looking for new ways to better implement our Weed Extension programs while focusing on education, awareness, and community buy in of weed control. During the spring of 2010, Agricultural Services piloted a new weed control concept called the Priority Area Weed Compliance system or P.A.W.C. This concept established an area where the community had stated that they wanted to see a consistent and effective approach to controlling a particular weed species. The community drives this process with Agricultural Services administering the program within the P.A.W.C area. Should individual landowners not comply with the communities desire for consist weed control, Agricultural Services will access the land and complete the weed control to the standard established by the community, recouping the control cost. This community based approach to weed control has proven very effective within other jurisdictions.

Be sure to check out the weed species information available on this website, and contact Agricultural Services to discuss weed control and prevention on your property.
 

Eradicable Weeds Program

 
The program is intended to foster voluntary reporting of new and emerging weeds or those present in Clearwater County in very small infestations to facilitate eradication and prevent the spread beyond this achievement.

Policy: 
  1. The Board will establish a list of species for the Eradicable Weeds Program each spring.
  2. Staff will record weed site information data in the Weed Data Base with particular attention to size, age and growth stage of infestation.
  3. Staff will inspect all sites on record annually and design an effective eradication program.
  4. Staff will present an Annual Report on this program which will guide the Board in establishing the list of species included in the program.
  5. Clearwater County will absorb all costs associated with the eradication.
 
Clearwater County Eradicable Weeds List
 
All Prohibited Noxious weeds as defined in the Alberta Weed Control Act regulations:
  1. Autumn olive — Elaeagnus umbellata Thunberg
  2. Balsam, Himalayan — Impatiens glandulifera Royle
  3. Barberry, common — Berberis vulgaris L.
  4. Bartsia, red — Odontites vernus (Bellardi) Dumortier ssp. serotinus (Dumortier) Corbière
  5. Buckthorn, common — Rhamnus cathartica L.
  6. Cinquefoil, sulphur — Potentilla recta L.
  7. Crupina, common — Crupina vulgaris Persoon ex Cassini
  8. Dyer’s woad — Isatis tinctoria L.
  9. Eurasian water milfoil — Myriophyllum spicatum L.
  10. Flowering rush — Butomus umbellatus L.
  11. Garlic mustard — Alliaria petiolata (M. Bieberstein) Cavara & Grande
  12. Goatgrass, jointed — Aegilops cylindrica Host
  13. Hawkweed, meadow — Hieracium caespitosum Dumortier
  14. Hawkweed, mouse‑ear — Hieracium pilosella L.
  15. Hawkweed, orange — Hieracium aurantiacum L.
  16. Hoary alyssum — Berteroa incana (L.) DC.
  17. Hogweed, giant — Heracleum mantegazzianum Sommier & Levier
  18. Iris, pale yellow — Iris pseudacorus L.
  19. Knapweed, bighead — Centaurea macrocephala Puschkarew ex Willdenow
  20. Knapweed, black — Centaurea nigra L.
  21. Knapweed, brown — Centaurea jacea L.
  22. Knapweed, diffuse — Centaurea diffusa Lamarck
  23. Knapweed, hybrid — Centaurea × psammogena Gáyer
  24. Knapweed, meadow — Centaurea × moncktonii C. E. Britton
  25. Knapweed, Russian — Acroptilon repens (L.) DC.
  26. Knapweed, spotted — Centaurea stoebe L. ssp. micranthos (Gugler) Hayek
  27. Knapweed, squarrose — Centaurea virgata Lam. ssp. squarrosa (Boissier) Gugler
  28. Knapweed, Tyrol — Centaurea nigrescens Willdenow
  29. Knotweed, giant — Fallopia sachalinensis (F. Schmidt) Ronse Decraene
  30. Knotweed, hybrid Japanese — Fallopia ×  bohemica (Chrtek & Chrtková) J. P. Bailey
  31. Knotweed, Japanese — Fallopia japonica (Houttuyn) Ronse Decraene
  32. Loosestrife, purple — Lythrum salicaria L.
  33. Medusahead — Taeniatherum caput-medusae (L.) Nevski
  34. Nutsedge, yellow — Cyperus esculentus L.
  35. Puncturevine — Tribulus terrestris L.
  36. Ragwort, tansy — Senecio jacobaea L.
  37. Rush skeletonweed — Chondrilla juncea L.
  38. Saltcedar — Tamarix ramosissima Ledebour
  39. Saltlover — Halogeton glomeratus (M. Bieberstein) C.A. Mey.
  40. St John's wort, common — Hypericum perforatum L.
  41. Starthistle, yellow — Centaurea solstitialis L.
  42. Tamarisk, Chinese — Tamarix chinensis de Loureiro
  43. Tamarisk, smallflower — Tamarix parviflora DC.
  44. Thistle, marsh — Cirsium palustre (L.) Scopoli
  45. Thistle, nodding — Carduus nutans L.
  46. Thistle, plumeless — Carduus acanthoides L. 
Noxious and not designated weeds: 
  1. Bladder Campion (Silene cucubalus) (Not designated)
  2. Common Tansy  (Tanacetum vulgare)
  3. Common/(Yellow) Toad Flax (Linaria vulgaris)
  4. Field Scabious  (Knautia arvensis)
  5. Leafy Spurge (Eeuphorbia esula

Community Weed Control

 
Clearwater County has three separate and distinct Community Weed Control (CWC) areas. County Council has been highly supportive of communities that are interested in working together as a group to deal with invasive species. 
With the inclusion of a new community driven approach to weed control in the Everdell area, along with the Ricinis community (added in 2012), the total area involved in community projects has increased from the original 20,480 acres to 46,080 acres.   
The First Priority Area Weed Compliance project (PAWC), initiated in the Arbutus/Alhambra area has now successfully completed its seventh year while the Ricinus CWC area has completed its fourth year. 

Objectives of Community Weed Control Areas

 
All of the areas operate differently and are administered with input from the communities based on locally determined standards and expectations. The overriding objectives for all community groups remain the same: 
  • Marked increase of cooperation with neighbors
  • More landowners are working towards eradication
  • Increased ownership of weeds 
  • Community to work closely with Ag Services staff
Vegetation management involves roadside programs to address weed control, grass mowing, re-vegetation (seeding construction projects) and brush control.

The Agricultural Services Department is responsible for the management of vegetation within the right of way adjacent to County surfaced and gravel roads. This vegetation management is broken down into four components.

Roadside Brush Clearing
Clearwater County Agricultural Services undertakes tree and brush removal within the ditches and right of ways of surfaced and gravel roads to ensure the safety and integrity of the road structure. Trees and brush can hide wildlife entering the roadway increasing the risk of collision, undermine the strength of the road, cause snow to drift, and impede the flow of water in the ditch. Trees and brush can also impede sightlines at intersections and can block the sun and wind keeping the road wet and muddy. Roadside tree and brush removal is also necessary in some cases to help facilitate road construction and rehabilitation. Intensive roadside brushing operations are always completed in consultation with local residents and landowners to ensure that homes and livestock confinement areas that utilize the roadside trees and brush for shelter are not negatively impacted. To remove smaller brush and trees mulchers are used to grind up the biomass, the mulch is left on the spot to aid in erosion control and provides nutrients for establishing grass. For larger trees chainsaws are used to fall and buck the trees into fire wood which is left for local landowners and residents to utilize. The tops and branches of these trees are then mulched. Roadside brushing of deciduous species requires subsequent herbicide applications in the following two years to ensure that suckering regrowth does not replace the trees and brush removed. The roadside brushing program generally occurs between October and April.

Roadside Brush Spraying

Agricultural Services implements a yearly herbicide application program which focuses on invasive and nuisance plant control as well as brush regrowth. Agricultural Services is committed to protecting agricultural lands, as well as native ecosystems within Clearwater County. Invasive plants such as Tall Buttercup and Wild Caraway have a severely negative impact on infested land. Agricultural Services applies herbicide on a spot spraying basis to control and eradicate these invasive plants from our right of ways and ditches to curb the spread onto adjacent farm land and native ecosystems. Certified Pesticide Applicators operate two one-ton spray trucks which are G.P.S. guided and highly accurate to ensure that the proper amount of herbicide is applied to the proper vegetation. Special attention is given to ensure sensitive areas such as gardens, sensitive crops, water courses/bodies and berry picking areas are not negatively impacted by herbicide applications. Roadside brush spraying generally occurs between June and September.

Roadside Seeding

Agricultural Services is responsible for roadside seeding, which establishes desirable vegetation along County Roads. Roadside seeding occurs after a new road has been constructed or a current road has been rehabilitated. Roadside seeding is crucial to mitigate erosion, prevent the establishment of invasive plants and undesirable vegetation, and making roadsides more aesthetically pleasing. Roadside seeding typically occurs in the spring and fall.

Roadside Mowing

Agricultural Services completes a roadside mowing program each year. All surface roads are mowed, along with some gravel roads that see large volumes of traffic. A 10 to 15 foot shoulder pass is generally completed, but in some instances a complete right of way mowing is done on surfaced roads to facilitate small brush removal. Roadside mowing increases the traffics visibility of wildlife entering the road, reduces the fire hazard along roads, reduces snow drifting and increases the aesthetic appeal of our road infrastructure. Roadside mowing generally occurs during the months of August and September.
To meet the unique needs of landowners within Clearwater County the Agricultural Service Board provides custom herbicide application to control noxious weeds on range and pasture land. Because invasive plants like Tall Buttercup and Wild Caraway thrive in rough, low and difficult terrain the Agricultural Services department has built specialized equipment to tackle these difficult jobs.

Whether hummocks, low land, rough terrain or hills on farms or acreages, our specialized equipment and trained applicators will effectively control noxious weeds invading your pastures and rangeland. Our rates are $85 per hour (herbicide not included), averaging 7-13 acres per hour, depending on terrain. Our pull type or 3pt hitch, tractor driven, G.P.S guided boom-less sprayers are tailored and custom made for Clearwater County.

Clearwater County also retails a wide selection of the most effective range and pasture herbicides on the market. One of our Weed Extension Coordinators can work with you to select the best herbicide for your situation. We also rent large, medium and small, sprayers that allow landowners to easily and effectively apply herbicide to their own land. If you are interested in seeing our equipment and the effectiveness of range and pasture herbicides, want to save money on range and pasture herbicides and the application then watch for our weed workshops each Spring. All landowners in Clearwater County who choose to participate in this workshop will receive 10% off all range and pasture herbicides and custom application. If you have questions about weeds, want to rent weed control equipment, purchase a range and pasture herbicide or are interested in range and pasture spraying, please contact our Weed Extension Staff at 403-845-4444.
Traceability within Alberta’s agri-food industry has become an important tool in improving animal health, increasing food safety, minimizing economic impact of disease outbreak, while expanding Alberta’s global market share.

There are three pillars within Alberta’s traceability system: premise identification, animal identification, and animal movement. Premise identification establishes each producer’s farm base by issuing each premise a unique number that is used on transport manifests and bill of sales to ensure livestock can be traced back to multiple farms involved in the ownership chain. Animal identification mandates all animals sold beyond the point of origin to be tagged with a Radio Identification Frequency (R.F.I.D) button unique to only that animal. Further to the R.F.I.D. button as of January first 2009 all calves born must be age verified.

Verification is the process of associating the animal’s birth date or the herds starting calving date with the animal’s unique R.F.I.D. button. This birth date event is entered in to the Canadian Cattle Identification Agency (CCIA) database and is stored for the life of the animal allowing animals to be identified as over or under 30 months of age. Animal movement tracks the movement of livestock from the herd of origin through the feeding chain to slaughter by tracking the animals unique R.F.I.D. button through the CCIA database. Alberta beef is world renowned and highly sought after for its quality and consistency, to ensure Alberta beef producers maintain this reputation traceability will provide the insurance the industry needs.
Agricultural Services offers a traceability program which provides service to beef producers in age verification, premise identification, and animal movement. As well Agricultural Services partners with the Canadian Cattle Identification Agency and Alberta Agriculture in providing information, workshops and seminars to help producers adopt and implement traceability within their farm. Agricultural Services also offers R.F.I.D. tag reader rentals to producers to assist with gathering traceability data.

Contact Agricultural Services Staff to learn more about our traceability programs and services.
Clearwater County is part of a very unique agriculture region within Alberta. Our high annual precipitation, short growing season and unique soils set us apart from most other areas of the province. Unfortunately, because of our unique situation many of the agronomic trials and resource information available does not fully apply to Clearwater County. To allow producers the opportunity to experience, see and learn about new and different farming practices and ideas Agricultural Services organizes and implements on farm agronomic trials. These trials include weed and pest plots and trials, cereal crop variety plots, grazing management demonstrations and shelter belt and wood lot management. Agricultural Services is mandated to promote and encourage a thriving and diverse agricultural community. Our on farm demonstrations allow farmers to experience new concepts and ideas before they implement them on their farm.


Trial Plots

2012-2013 Swath Grazing Trial Plot Report

2013-2014 Triticale Swath Grazing Report

2013 Gluten Free Garden

2018 Cover Crop Trial Plot Report

2020 Pulse Crop Report

2020 Survivor Winter Pee Evaluation 

2020 Surge Spring Triticale Viability Evaluation Plot

Staff at Agricultural Services are happy to balance rations for local producers. Using the upgraded Cow Bytes 5 and with input from farmers on their feed test results, rations can be built quickly and effectively.

Please phone 403-845-4444 to book an appointment.


Feed Sampling Guideline

Feed testing assists livestock producers in making the best use of the feeds available to them.
The proper application of feed test results will allow you to optimize your feed resources.
Underfeeding livestock will limit their production; overfeeding livestock will be a waste of resources.
Feed test results will help to determine what supplements are needed and the amount of these
supplements that should be used in the ration. If you want assistance in developing a feeding
program you can make use of our ration balancing service.

Procedure

Clearwater County Agricultural Services has an information package and sampling tools available upon
request. It is recommended to phone and arrange a time to discuss sampling, analysis, ration
balancing and borrowing tools.

When to Sample

Choosing the right time to take feed samples is very important. Samples should always be
taken before the feeding period begins. If you have the results of your feed analysis before the
feeding period begins, you can use the feed test results to help you develop the best possible feeding
program. Whenever possible sample your feeds at harvest time.

Sampling

Each type of feed to be used in the ration should be sampled and analyzed separately.
Different forage species, mixtures or cuttings should be sampled individually because they all differ in
nutrient content. Grains and roughages grown in different areas of Alberta, even in different fields,
differ greatly in nutrient content.
Protect your investment in feed testing by taking every care to ensure that the samples you
submit are representative. If the samples are not representative the test results will be misleading
and consequently, of little value.

When sampling baled roughages use the specially designed core sampling tool which is
available from Agricultural Services upon request. Take samples from at least 20 different bales or places in
the stack. Place the core samples directly into plastic sample bags. This will help prevent the loss of
leaves.

For sampling loose or cut roughages or silage it is best to take the sample by hand. You will
have difficulty obtaining a sample with a core sampling tool. Take samples from at least 20 different
locations in the stack or swath. Put the samples in a pail and mix thoroughly. Take a sample from
the pail and put it into the plastic bag. Try to avoid leaf loss. If the roughage is very dry you may be
better off to sample directly into plastic sample bags.

Grains or complete feeds should also be sampled from at least 20 different locations in the
storage structure. Put the samples in a pail and mix thoroughly. Then transfer a sample to a plastic
sample bag. If your feed contains protein supplement or minerals these may settle to the bottom of
the pail. The easiest time to collect your samples is when the grain or feed is being augered into the
storage bin.

DO NOT DRY the samples before submitting them. Recommendations are made on an as-fed
basis: thus, knowing the moisture content is very important. If possible, freeze silage samples
before mailing them. Silages or other perishables should be sent to the laboratory as soon as possible.

Packaging and Mailing

  • Package and ship according to laboratory instructions.
Feed Analyses and Fees

See Link for Feed and Grain Analysis and Fees

Interpretations and Recommendations

Analytical results of feed samples will be forwarded to the farmer. If you wish to discuss
feeding needs, ration balancing and detailed ration recommendations please call Clearwater County
Ag Services to discuss or make an appointment.

Please Note: Clearwater County does not provide information for use in advertising or for use in situations
where legal action is involved or contemplated nor to provide a quality-control service for feed
manufacturers.

The main pests that require outside assistance are beavers and coyotes. The approach taken is to offer assistance via workshops and hands-on training in addition to providing awareness and educational materials in management and prevention.

Grasshoppers: Extension staff  conduct annual grasshopper surveys with 84 fields surveyed in 2018. The information is provided to the province to help with predicting grasshopper issues in the future. 

Club Root: Clubroot surveillance and inspection has been elevated for the past four years even though annual crops in Clearwater County are a small portion of the agricultural use of all deeded land. All canola fields known to Agriculture and Community Services are inspected. 72 fields were inspected in 2013, 81 in 2014, 119 in 2015, 102 in 2016, 44 in 2017 and 115 in 2018. 

The first confirmation of clubroot in Clearwater County was discovered in 2014. Two fields were identified as clubroot positive. They were not in close proximity to each other nor was there any sharing of equipment or resources. 

In 2015 10 new fields were identified and links were established in many of the fields between landowners and equipment. In 2016 only 2 new fields were found and testing indicated a very low infestation rate. 

Due to a delayed harvest and some unharvested crops in the fall of 2016, coupled with a wet spring  in 2017, there was a 50 percent reduction in fields planted to canola. Consequently, there were just 44 fields examined with 2 positive results from the samples sent away. Of 115 fields sampled in 2018, 3 tested positive for clubroot. 

Click Here for more information on control methods for gophers.

Corteva Agriscience Range and Pasture Rebate Program

  • In 2021, Corteva has made some adjustments to their rebate program. This allows more convenience for the buyer.
  • Customers no longer need to register their intent to purchase the products. Instead, customers who purchase a minimum of $1400.00 of qualifying products are eligible to receive an 8% rebate in the Fall of 2021.
  • Customers who match or exceed their 2020 purchases are eligible to receive a total 10% rebate back from Corteva in the Fall of 2021.
  • Qualifying products include Restore ll herbicide, Reclaim ll herbicide, & Grazon XC herbicide. 
  • This program runs from December 1, 2020 to July 31, 2021. 
Please contact Clearwater County with any questions or concerns you may have regarding the new rebate program at 403 845 4444.

Rocky Mountain House and Clearwater County are part of a growing and economically vibrant region with a strong agricultural history and culture. Based on perceived community demand and previous planning exercises, the Agricultural Recreation Facility Feasibility Study was initiated in order to further assess the need, market potential, viability and financial implications of facility development. The project was conducted by RC Strategies with guidance from a steering committee consisting of individuals from a cross-section of community stakeholders and organizations.