Wild boar has been an issue in Alberta for a number of years, and Alberta Agriculture and Forestry (AF) is starting the next phase to help eradicate the pest.
“Wild boar are not native to Alberta,” says Perry Abramenko, inspection officer, AF. “They came to the province in the 1980s and ’90s as livestock. Over the years, some animals escaped, and have established several feral/wild populations.”
Perry says there has been a bounty program for wild boar in Alberta since 2008. “It’s a grant program under which municipalities pay out $50 for a set of ears as proof a boar has been removed. Over the years, the return from the program has declined significantly as these animals are very intelligent and, once a herd is attuned to human activity, are very hard to hunt or trap. The bounty program for participating municipalities has been extended until June 30th. After then, consultation with our stakeholders will determine if the program will continue or change to align with eradication efforts.”
The main problem with wild boar is environmental damage. “When they’re feeding, they do a lot of rooting to the extent a lawn or pasture can look like a rototiller has gone through it. The will also contaminate water sources and can carry diseases that can transfer to animals and humans. They can also cause a lot of damage to crops, especially cereals and hay bales.”
Bounty returns indicates that most wild boar activity is in the Lac St. Anne and Woodland counties. “As such, we’re focusing our efforts on those two areas, even though we’re looking for reports from anywhere. We’re also looking to partner with academic institutions to do work on research and surveillance. And, we’re reaching out to the public for their assistance with the problem and are putting together an education program with handouts and brochures.”
Bottom line, says Abramenko, is that more information is needed on the scope of the situation. “Outside of the bounties, we don’t have a lot of data of wild boar. Right now, an estimate of numbers would be a guess, but we don’t have any evidence numbers are increasing.”
For more information on wild boar or sightings, call the Ag-Info Centre at 310-FARM, 310-3276, or go to Alberta Agriculture’s website.
Weed control methods
Although herbicides are the most common control measure for weeds, there are other methods available.
“Depending on the circumstances, cropping systems or crop types (row crops), cultivation is still a valid way to kill weeds,” says Brook.
“Biological controls are being developed and registered that can target specific problem weeds. A crop rotation with a mix of spring and fall seeded crops can also be effective in managing problem weed populations. Heavy crop plant populations, seeding early, silaging the crop and patch control are all options available for weed control. Weeds must be immature enough to be controlled by the method you choose. Once weeds have gone to seed, the damage to crop yield has been done and you end up with a bigger weed seed bank in the soil.”
Brook says it is important that weeds are dealt with as soon as possible. “There are many methods that help to reduce the effects of weeds on crop yield. Use all of them and don’t restrict yourself to using only herbicides.
“Most important, however, is no matter the method you choose, deal with weeds while they are small and easy to control to best preserve your crop yield.”
For more information, contact the Alberta Ag-Info Centre at 310-FARM (3276).