John Guelly, farmer from Westlock, Alta., was recently elected chair of the Alberta Canola Producers Commission (ACPC). He has become known in some areas as “Mr. Clubroot,” largely as a result his work to remove the stigma from having clubroot, and being the founding member of Clubroot Anonymous.
He recently sat down to talk with RealAgriculture’s Shaun Haney about the state of the canola industry and the latest developments in the battle with clubroot.
In the early days of clubroot in Alberta there was a very strong knee-jerk reaction to the problem, Guelly says. There were some counties where, upon detection of the disease, fields could not be seeded to canola for five years, or more.
As the disease becomes better understood solutions are being implemented that can be much more effective, while not nearly so harsh. “Fortunately a lot of the research is supporting this change,” says Guelly. “Because you know we’d always talked about a four-year rotation and now science has proven that as long as our spore loads are low, a two-year break is all we need — so, a three-year crop rotation.”
Moving on to industry coordination, Guelly notes that the Canola Council of Canada (CCC) has seen some significant changes recently. “I think we want to try to move the industry forward. We’ve got some flux with council right now. We’ve got to smooth that over and get things running.” One of the things that Guelly points to is the CCC taking a step back from certain types of market development. The Canadian Canola Growers will now be do some of this work, and the two groups are still working out the details as to what this will look like.
One thing that affects farmers directly, and is of primary concern to ACPC, is the CCC agronomy program. Guelly wants to reassure producers that even though CCC agronomists may do more work influencing the influencers there will still be one-on-one time. “There was some confusion early on and I think we’ve got that sorted out,” he says. “They’ll definitely be going out to the retailers but they’ll also still be going out to our crop walks and (Canola and Crop)Paloozas.”
Check out the entire interview with ACPC chair John Guelly and RealAgriculture’s Shaun Haney below.