Practical tools for producers to tackle agricultural pests is the focus of an upcoming free workshop in Williams Lake.
Slated for Tuesday, April 16, at the Ramada Convention Centre, the one-day workshop is being presented by the Invasive Species Council of BC with financial support from Climate Action Initiative.
Invasive Species Council of BC (ISC) executive director, Gail Wallin said the workshop is for the full-range of Ag producers in the Cariboo Chilcotin.
“With climate changing, the risk is what are the agricultural pests that are going to affect our industry and what can we do about it?,” Wallin said. “When we are talking about agriculture we are talking about small producers, big producers, vegetable producers, the cattle industry, everything.”
A major issue in the region is seeding post wildfires and knowing what to seed with and what contaminants are in seeds, Wallin said.
“Those are big issues because a lot of time people will buy seed not realizing that the seed will read three or five per cent not verified or unknown. That’s where more most invasive plants are hidden. You might get 90 per cent Timothy but you get the unknown you are seeding with.”
Ensuring you have “clean seed” is important, she added.
“Knowing when to seed and what to seed with is crucial for retarding invasive plants getting a hold. Seeding when the ground is a bare before things are established makes sense.”
Wallin said a lot of people don’t realize that bird seed or wildflower seeds have a lot of invasive plants in them.
“If you take a look at what is growing under your bird feeder you can see that sometimes. A bird feeder is an urban issue, but it is an example of how routinely we buy bird seed without thinking about what is actually in it. There is real issue about what is in wildflower seeds as well – baby’s breath here is an invasive plant, no doubt about it.”
Grasshoppers are also a big issue, Wallin said.
“Why do we get so many of them? What can we do to avoid them? We will have an entomologist coming in from the Minister of Agriculture to talk about grasshoppers.”
ISC has been working with an advisory committee to put together guest speakers for the workshop.
A research report completed a few years ago found the agriculture sector wanted more learning opportunities tailored to the Cariboo Chilcotin region.
Are you #hiking or #biking this weekend? #Getoutdoors but don't forget to #PlayCleanGo to prevent the spread of invasive species – yourself, your gear and your pets! https://t.co/rHwuJA0jno pic.twitter.com/KewNDHWkF5
— ISCBC (@ISCBC) March 30, 2019
“They want to know what invasive pests are coming in and how to identify them early on to avoid them taking over,” Wallin said. “We actually will have an identification session late in the day of the workshop. The goal is to provide the agriculture sector with the tools they have asked for — they want webinars, so we are doing a workshop as a starting point, building on the research report that had already been done.”
The workshop is being held in advance of the 82nd Annual Williams Lake Bull Sale which opens on Wednesday, April 17.
“We chose dates that were available for speakers because some people were coming into town for the bull sale. We wanted to coincide, not collide with the bull sale because we would have lost a lot of producers.”
While the workshop is free, people are asked to register at bcinvasives.ca or call 250-305-1003.
“We’d love to have 40 or 50 people in the room,” she added. “Ten years ago when we were working with producers a lot of people wanted to know what this new thing in their garden or fields was so we actually developed the organization I am with and we have developed a reporting ap so you can go on your phone, take a look at it.”
The ap is called WeedsBMP which stands for best management practices.