Proposed Cancellation of Strychnine

October 4, 2018

Team Alberta says PMRA’s proposed cancellation of Strychnine could cause severe economic consequences for farmers in controlling gopher populations

With the Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) proposing the complete cancellation of Strychnine for its use in controlling Richardson’s Ground Squirrel (gopher) populations, Team Alberta says farmers must be able to retain access to this product since there are currently no safe or effective alternatives to protect crops from damage. Severe gopher outbreaks could result in hundreds of thousands of dollars in crop damages to farms. Team Alberta is also calling for a long-term integrated pest management strategy to be in place prior to a final decision being made.

Team Alberta outlined its concerns and made several recommendations in a submission to the PMRA’s 90-day consultation for proposed re-revaluations of several products. Team Alberta recommends: 1) a long-term integrated pest management strategy to control the pests be developed prior to any final decisions from the PMRA, 2) the proposed decision be reconsidered taking into account all available scientific research and be based on peer-reviewed science, and 3) the PMRA should study the effectiveness and safety of alternative chemical options.

“Gophers are a common problem across Alberta and Saskatchewan, and have the potential to cause substantial economic losses, especially in drier years,” said Kevin Bender, AWC Chair.

“It’s absolutely imperative that farmers be able to retain the only tools that allow us to quickly gain control of outbreaks,” said Renn Breitkreuz, Alberta Canola Chair.

The PMRA has cancelled liquid concentrate Strychnine for use in gophers on at least two occasions in the past, only to bring in subsequent emergency product registrations to respond to population surges that caused the decimation of crops across the Prairies.

“Past emergency registrations demonstrate that cancellation is not a long-term solution,” said Jason Lenz, Alberta Barley Chair. “For this reason, one of our recommendations is for the development of a long-term integrated pest management strategy which has been discussed by the PMRA in the past.”

“Not only do farmers find Strychnine effective in protecting their crops, there is no other viable or safer alternative currently available to control severe outbreaks when this product is used according to the label,” said D’Arcy Hilgartner, Alberta Pulse Growers Chair.

Farmers can review the full Team Alberta submission here.

Media contacts:

Victoria Decker
Communications Manager
Alberta Wheat and Barley Commissions
[email protected]
403-219-7906

Rachel Peterson
Communications Coordinator
Alberta Pulse Growers
[email protected]
780-986-9398 ext. 108

Michelle Chunyua
Communications Coordinator
Alberta Canola
[email protected]
780-224-7970


Team Alberta is made up of Alberta Barley, Alberta Canola, Alberta Pulse Growers and Alberta Wheat Commission. Together the organizations represent over 20,000 farms across Alberta.

Alberta's four major crop commissions

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