RMD-13-04: Consolidated Pest Risk Management Document for pest plants regulated by Canada
Appendix 1B: Risk Management Considerations for Aegilops cylindrica (jointed goat grass)
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- Existing Programs
- Detection Surveys in Canada
- Hybridization with Wheat
- Host for Pests that attack Winter Wheat
- Wheat Production Areas of Canada at Risk
- Previous imports
- Recommended Risk Mitigation Measures
- Trade Implications
- Cost effectiveness and feasibility
In the United States the National Jointed Goatgrass Research Program was established in 1994 to guide research across the United States towards developing management systems based on cultural tactics and population dynamics.
The Government of Alberta, Agriculture and Rural Development, administers the Alberta Certified Weed Free Hay Program. The objective of the program is to provide a premium product that is recognized as marketable and transportable, to prevent the spread of restricted and noxious weeds, and to protect private and public lands from non-native, invasive plant species. Aegilops cylindrica is listed on their "Designated Weed List and Undesirable Plant Species List". Currently, this is the only existing weed free forage program in Canada.
Detection Surveys in Canada
Aegilops cylindrica is not known to occur in Canada outside of local incursions in the Regional Municipality of Niagara in Ontario (CFIA 2007). Field surveys for Aegilops cylindrica have focussed on potential points of introduction such as rail yards, ports, grain elevators, disturbed urban habitats and agricultural areas. Aegilops cylindrica was not found at any of the sites surveyed in Ontario or elsewhere in Canada.
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) have been conducting weed surveys of the Prairie Provinces since the 1970s (Thomas and Leeson 2007). All weed species encountered in these surveys are identified and documented. Aegilops cylindrica is included in this general survey and has not been detected (J. Leeson per. comm. June 2009). An Inventory of Canadian Agricultural Weeds published by Darbyshire in 2002, also reported that Aegilops cylindrica was absent in Canada.
Hybridization with Wheat
The grass tribe Triticeae is known for inter-specific and inter-generic hybridization (S. Darbyshire, 2006, pers. comm). The genus Aegilops is capable of hybridizing with many species of Triticum, including T. aestivum (wheat) and producing fertile offspring, although fertility rates are low. Germination rates of Aegilops cylindrical/ wheat hybrid spikelets in an Okalahoma study ranged between 0.42 and 1.10% (Stone and Peeper 2004).
Hybridization needs to be considered in a determination of risk management as it could reduce the effectiveness of control methods if a herbicide-tolerant trait in wheat has the potential to be transferred to Aegilops cylindrica, potentially reducing the effectiveness of current control options.
The CFIA Plant Biosafety Office has reviewed the safety of herbicide-tolerant Clearfield wheat which is tolerant to the herbicide imidazolinone. The review examined the potential for gene flow of the imidazolinone-tolerant genes to wild relatives, including Aegilops cylindrica. These documents conclude "that there is no increased risk of consequences of gene flow between imidazolinone-tolerant wheat and Aegilops cylindrica, given the non-persistent nature of the introduction in British Columbia" and "the non-agricultural nature of the Ontario site" (CFIA 2007).
Although hybridization is currently unlikely the risks should not be underestimated if population of Aegliops cylindrica are allowed to expand into Canadian agricultural systems.
The large area occupied by both winter wheat and Aegilops cylindrica in the United States could lead to a significant number of hybridization events and, subsequently, the transfer of the herbicide resistance gene (Guadagnuolo et al. 2001). The weediness of Aegilops cylindrica could increase while control options decrease. It is possible that herbicide-tolerant Aegilops cylindrica populations evolved in the United States may be introduced into Canada via the pathways previously discussed.
Host for Pests that attack Winter Wheat
Aegilops cylindrica is considered an over-wintering host for some pests of winter wheat. The species has been shown to act as an alternate host for Russian wheat aphid (Diuraphis noxia Mordvilko) (Hammon et al. 1989). Aegilops cylindrica also acts as an over-wintering host for a number of fungal pathogens, such as those that cause pink mold, foot rot, root browning, damping off, dwarf bunt and karnal bunt (Donald and Ogg 1991).
Wheat Production Areas of Canada at Risk
During 2008-2009, Canada's wheat production was estimated at 27.3 million metric tons, an increase of 36% from 2007 (USDA 2008). Farm cash receipts indicated that the value of all wheat production in Canada was $4.2 and $5.7 million dollars in 2007 and 2008 respectively (Statistics Canada 2009). Wheat production areas at risk from Aegilops cylindrica include Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec and the Atlantic provinces (Figure 2 & Figure 3). The majority of Canadian winter wheat is sown in southern Ontario and in the southern Prairie provinces.
Canada is one of the world's largest wheat exporters with more than 95% of Canada's wheat produced in western Canada. According to the 2006 Census of Agriculture, wheat was Canada's largest field crop. Canada produces an average of over 25 million tonnes and exports approximately 19 million tonnes of wheat annually. As production significantly exceeds requirements for domestic consumption, the Canadian wheat industry is export-oriented.
If Aegilops cylindrica becomes established in export-oriented agricultural systems in Canada, exports of Canada's major crops and agricultural commodities could potentially be subject to phytosanitary measures by countries where Aegilops cylindrica is a regulated pest. For example, Aegilops cylindrica appears on the published regulated pest lists of China and Mexico; both countries have imported Canadian wheat in the past (Industry Canada 2009). While Aegilops cylindrica has the greatest impact on the production of winter wheat, phytosanitary measures could be applied by NPPOs of importing country to all wheat shipments; regardless of planting time or variety.
Intentional Introduction Pathways
- Aegilops cylindrica does not have a significant commercial use as a commodity itself; therefore it is not known to be intentionally imported for economic gain.
- In 2004 and 2008 import permits were issued for Aegilops cylindrica under the authority of section 43 of the Plant Protection Regulations for research purposes.
Unintentional Introduction Pathways
Grains and Field Crops
The total value of grain and field crop commodities Footnote 1 imported into Canada in 2008 was approximately $368 million. Of this amount, 3% of imports consisted of wheat from the United States, where Aegilops cylindrica is present. A small percentage of wheat was imported from other countries where Aegilops cylindrica is present, namely Lebanon, Russia, Turkey, Bosnia, Italy, and Mexico. This represents less than 1% of the remaining imports of wheat in 2008 (Industry Canada 2009).
Canada imported approximately $1 million worth of wheat seed in 2007/2008, the majority of that from the United States (Canadian Seed Trade Association 2008).
Hay and Straw
The total value of hay and straw imported into Canada was approximately $13 million in 2008; 98% of this value came from states in the United States where Aegilops cylindrica is present (Industry Canada 2009).
Washington State was the greatest exporter of hay and straw to Canada with an average value of approximately $10 million per year in the last 5 years (Industry Canada 2009).
Used Vehicles and Farm Machinery
Used farm machinery moves across the United States-Canada border every year. Information is not available on the volume of imports of used farm machinery.
Recommended Risk Mitigation Measures
Natural Means of Dispersal
Natural range expansion could occur from infested counties in the United States along the U.S.-Canada border (USDA, NRCS 2006). It is recommended that risk mitigation include regular surveys targeting high risk areas along the Canada-United States border where the adjacent United States County is infested.
Education and outreach programs will also work to limit establishment in Canada, through early detection of new incursions.
Intentional and Unintentional Means of Introduction
Regulatory measures under the Plant Protection Act
- Regulate Aegilops cylindrica as a quarantine pest under the Plant Protection Act and add this species to the List of Pests Regulated by Canada (CFIA 2009);
- Prevent the importation, movement, and cultivation of this species in Canada either as an intentional import for food, feed or processing, or as a contaminant of a regulated commodity;
- Enable inspectors to take appropriate action for the purposes of eradicating the pest or preventing its spread;
- A permit to import issued under the authority of the Plant Protection Regulations, indicating specific import conditions for the handling and use of the commodity. It is the importer's responsibility to apply for and obtain the permit;
- The National Plant Protection Organization (NPPO) for the exporting country could be required to provide a phytosanitary certificate with or without an Additional Declaration stating freedom from Aegilops cylindrica;
- Phytosanitary agreements could be negotiated to certify imports from pest free areas and/or recognize noxious weed certification in countries or states of origin;
- End use does have an impact on risk mitigation measures. For example, wheat containing Aegilops cylindrica imported for milling would be considered lower risk than that coming in for direct use as pastured/rangeland animal feed. For milling, risk mitigation measures could include: the milling process itself, CFIA approved transport of the grain to the mill in a leak proof container and CFIA approved disposal of any Aegilops cylindrica parts removed from the commodity prior to the milling process;
- Additional measures may be waived for those commodities that have been treated or processed such that the risk of introduction of Aegilops cylindrica has been reduced to an acceptable level, for example heat treating grains or pelletization of hay or straw;
- Importation of grain known to be contaminated with Aegilops cylindrica may be permitted for research, processing, industrial or educational uses under a section 43 permit, and would be evaluated on a case by case basis;
- All risk mitigation measures forAegilops cylindrica must also take into consideration requirements/measures for other pests (e.g. pathogens and insects);
- The importation of used farm machinery would continue to fall under enforcement of Directive 95-26: "Phytosanitary requirements for soil and related matter and for items contaminated with soil and related matter" (CFIA, 2008). In 2003, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) assumed responsibility for the initial import inspection services in respect of the Acts and Regulations administered by the CFIA to the extent that they are applicable at Canadian border points. The inspections of goods that may be contaminated with soil are among the responsibilities that were transferred to the CBSA in 2003. The Food, Plant and Animals Programs Section of the CBSA its Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) concerning the "Inspection of Imported Goods Potentially Contaminated with Soil." This SOP provides the CBSA's Border Services Officers with formal procedures for the inspection and disposition of goods that may be contaminated with soil, including used agricultural machinery and vehicles.
Regulatory measures under the Seeds Act
Continue to regulate Aegilops cylindrica as a prohibited noxious weed under the Weed Seeds Order of the Seeds ActFootnote 2. The importation of Aegilops cylindrica seed is prohibited under the Seeds Act and the Seeds Regulations have specific information requirements (CFIA 2009) to verify that seed imported into Canada is free of prohibited noxious weeds and meets the minimum standards for purity and germination for the crop kind in question. A certificate of analysis is required to demonstrate freedom from all prohibited noxious weeds.
Non regulatory measures
Education and outreach programs can assist in preventing and detecting new populations of Aegilops cylindrica. This can include providing information on identifying Aegilops cylindrica in the field, as well as educating people using custom combines and moving used farm machinery to clean all plant debris and soil that could contain seeds or spikelets of Aegilops cylindrica prior to moving the machines.
- Not controlling import and spread of the species may result in infestations of field crops for export; if an importing country prohibits Aegilops cylindrica Canadian market access could be compromised. In 2010, Canada exported approximately $4.6 billion worth of wheat (Industry Canada 2011);
- Continued regulation of Aegilops cylindrica under the Seeds Act and Seeds Regulations secures the continued export of wheat seed from Canada to countries that regulate Aegilops cylindrica;
- The regulation of Aegilops cylindrica under the Plant Protection Act is not expected to have a major impact on seed trade, as it is already classified as a Class 1 noxious weed seed and is not cultivated in Canada;
- Regulation of Aegilops cylindrica under the Plant Protection Act will help to secure the potential export of hay and straw to the seven states in the United States that regulate the plant. In 2008, approximately $4.2 million worth of hay and straw were exported to Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, and Oregon (Industry Canada 2009);
- Since 98% of hay and straw imports come into Canada from the United States with the majority from Washington and Oregon where Aegilops cylindrica is present, there could be significant market losses if commodities are found to be contaminated;
- National Plant Protection Organizations (NPPO) of the exporting country could need to ensure freedom of Aegilops cylindrica in field crops; otherwise CFIA could refuse import;
- Trading partners would be impacted if Canada regulates Aegilops cylindrica as a quarantine pest, particularly the United States. This could potentially lead to a reduction or loss of imported product for Canadians should the NPPO of exporting countries be unable to meet proposed regulatory requirements.
Cost effectiveness and feasibility
- Aegilops cylindrica spikelets and winter wheat seed are quite similar in size, shape and density. These similarities make it difficult to separate the two. Standard sieve type seed cleaners do not sufficiently remove Aegilops cylindrica from wheat. For complete separation, special length graders and gravity tables should be used (NAPPO 2003);
- Foreign NPPOs will need to devote resources toward inspection of field crops and issuance of phytosanitary certificates;
- Aegilops cylindrica spikelets are easily identifiable making detection in samples quite easy;
- The CFIA Seed Program is already in place to prevent the entry of prohibited noxious weeds. The CFIA monitors compliance with the Canadian standards through the Marketplace Monitoring Program Footnote 3;
- For the regulation of Aegilops cylindrica in grain, Canada currently regulates the importation of grain under D-99-01: Barley, Oats, Rye, Triticale and Wheat - Phytosanitary Requirements on Import, Transhipped, In-Transit and Domestic Movement (CFIA 2009). D-99-01 has already been implemented to prevent the entry of regulated pests of cereals into areas of Canada not infested with the specified pests. Minor revisions will be needed to add requirements for Aegilops cylindrica;
- Phytosanitary measures are already in place for other pests regulated by Canada. Minor costs will be incurred for identification training for inspectors, delivery of import inspection of grains and field crops and sample collection. There will also be potential increased costs to the CFIA in the issuance of import permits.
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