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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - October 17, 1972, Lethbridge, Alberta They-y The Lethlnldgc Herald LETHBRIDGE. ALBERTA VOL 1 NO. 16 TUESDAY, OCTOBER 17, 1972 Cattlemen aided in fight PAGES 1-16 cause B> IXIC SW1IIAIIT1 of The llernhl Insects and pests arc causing largo financial losses and lenis for livestock producers throughout Alberta although re- search into the areas is About 35 members of the En- tomological Society ol Alberta told that cattle losses at- tributed to black flies are the greatest in the Athabaska River region in the north-central por- tion ol the province. K. R. Depner, a special- ist at the LelhbrUlgc Research Station studying the ecology of black flies in the province, snid this past summer has been tht; vo'.-st in'history for cattle losses due to the nesls. DEATHS He said reports of eight heif- ers and a bull killed on one ranch, a valuable bull on anoth- er and various other numbers of animals killed by the flies have been received tins year. lie said deaths have been re- ported as far as 40 miles from the Athabaska River, the tf'ced- ing spot about 200 miles long where most of the flies origi- nate. Front tests, observers have determined that tlie arctieum species is the black fly which is causing the deaths, They don't affect humans. Ail interesting point brought up by Mr. Depncr was that all the cattle deatlis this year were animals which hnd been brounhl into the region f.-oiu outside points. The resident animals seem to hiivc built up a resis- tance to the pests, be said. The animals appeared to die of shock caused by tbe constant biting- and pestering of the black flics. CALVING TROUBFJCS Dr, M. A. Khan, a toxtcolog- ist at the Lethbridge station. said the persistence of the black flies also affects the calving ro- tation of the herds in the area. Because the flics are heaviest during the normal mating sea- son, cows arc not ly.-ed until Inter. This causes late born calves which sometimes don't have the time to develop suffi- ciently In bo able to withstand the harsh winters. Dr. Khan told the galhering of treatments available for tho animals. Using a pour-on sub- stance, treated animals gained more than three times the weight of untrented animals chiring the period when the flics are most active. Since the way to improve herds is to introduce new blood lines, ranchers were having dif- ficulty since the newly intro- duced animals were I he hardest hit by the flics. "Treated animals were defi- nitely said. On another topic, Dr. Khan said the warble grub is one of the most costly pests of tlic rancher. The grub starts its cycle as eggs laid on I he hairy legs of cattle. Once they de- velop, they enter the animals body and after some months work their way through the cow's back to reach the flesh. When on top 01 the ammnl, still under the skin, they bile holes in the hide in axlcr to breathe. When the grub em- erges, it falls to the ground to slart the cycle over again the following year. Dr. Khan said during a four month period January through April, grubs account fo1 damage cr loss per head of cat- tle slaughtered. ITe s.-iicl I.cthbddgc is a prime example of the amount of in on ey involved. The four slaughter plants have a capac- ity of head per week but usually kill only par week. That amounts to per week in losses for ranchers in Eoutho'n Alberta alone. Similar losses are reported in other provinces, as well. In JSC9, he said, the provin- cial government entered a plan of warble "grub extermination. Since that lime, the program has spread until in 1972 about BO per cent o: 2.5 million head of cattle will be treated to rid the province of thepest. Riverside Hulterile Colony custom combining on Blood Indian Reserve Alfalfa germ plasm in ivide demand C7 !_ Germ plasm from Canadian- developed alfalfa varieties is in demand for breeding pro- grams around the world. Projects in Australia, South America, Europe and the United States incorporate pro- ducts of this country's research as integral parts of their for- age brceditig experiments, "Legumes arc the most im- portant constituent of hay for said Dr. D. II. Hcin- richs, a plant breeder at the Swift Current Research Station. "Alfalfa is probably the most important legume for hay pro- duction in some of the drier regions of the world." Legumes are an ideal crop to pair with grasses for perman- ent pastures. Their higher tcin and vitamin content com- bine with the energy value of tho grass to provide a bal- anced feed surpassing either alone. AndT legumes with their nitrogen fixing ability take nitrogen from the air and man- ufacture natural to maintain the pasture's require- ments, Of the five licensed alfalfa varieties developed entirely in Canada, three came from the Swift Current Research Station anrl the other two from research stations at Snskntoon and bridge. "Our main need in Canada is fnr varieties which are winter hardy and Enid Dr. lleinrichs. ''Because much of the live- stock opev a Lions r if 'C on d ry prairi es, we a bo w ant a drought resistant forage." These characteristics, winch have been genetically pooled in hundreds of strains used (o de- velop Canadian varieties, arc inn sought ?iftcr by other coun.'rics. Many of the varieties in the Swift Current nursery will nev- er be licensed. They arc used as building blocks in co mbin- ing all Hie required qualities into final commercial varieties. But the genetic material they contain is also valued as build- ing blacks in custom breeding programs elsewhere. "Alfalfa is widely SE'id Dr. Hcinrichs. "That means it grows over a very large