Richardson Ground Squirrels--locally referred to as Gophers--are a naturally occurring rodent species in Kneehill County and play an important ecological role as a food source for many predators. But when populations expand and disperse rapidly they can pose a significant economic threat to agriculture as well as severely impact natural ecosystems. For this reason, Agriculture Services recommends an integrated pest management approach to maintaining gopher populations below threshold limits. A combination of population monitoring, cultural controls, as well as lethal control measures can help agricultural producers in reducing population numbers. For more information on the biology and control of Richardson Ground Squirrels check out this informational factsheet from Alberta Agriculture.
One lethal control measure, 2% Liquid Strychnine Concentrate is currently being deregistered by the Canadian Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA). As such the manufacturer will be able to distribute the product up to March 4, 2021, and municipalities/retailers will be allowed to sell product up to March 4, 2022. As well, supply chain disruptions in 2020 have limited the amount of product available through the manufacturer. Kneehill County Agriculture Services will be attempting to procure product for 2021 and will advertise when it becomes available. Should you wish to be directly contacted as soon as it becomes available please call the Kneehill County office.
Those that purchase strychnine must comply with the following:
- Read and follow the label and information bulletin for 2% LSC (PCP# 30433) and agree to all the terms and conditions stated in the registration and label prior to its use.
- Must be an agriculture producer and ratepayer within Kneehill County.
- Approved farmers MUST have an economically significant population defined as 1 gopher hole every 4 meters of walking over 100 meters, and/or 20% crop damage in a 100-meter strip.
- Minimum purchase of 6 bottles, maximum of 24 bottles (1 case)
- Producers MUST wear all required personal protective equipment and clothing as directed on the label. 2% LSC is to be used only in accordance with the directions on the label.
- It is an offense under the Pest Control Products Act to use this product in a way that is inconsistent with the directions on the label. The user assumes the risk to persons or property that arises from any such use of this
- Product price is selected on a cost-recovery basis and subject to change
- Poison will only be sold while quantities last.
Some other options to aid farmers in the control of gophers are:
- Raptor platforms, nesting boxes, and perches to encourage natural predation
- Reduce preferred habitat by maintaining healthy pastures and use of rotational grazing
- Rozol, for the control of Ground Squirrels and Pocket Gophers in rangelands, crop, and non-crop areas.
- Rocon, a poison-free rodenticide registered by Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency for the control of rodents.