For trees and shrubs, winter presents a series of formidable challenges. Harsh conditions, from freezing temperatures to limited sunlight, can take a toll on their health and vitality. In the harsh winter climates of Alberta, trees and shrubs often face various threats that can lead to extensive damage. From the biting cold temperatures and dry air to the winter sun and the relentless forces of wildlife, salt, deep freezes, heavy snow, and ice, the challenges are plentiful. However, by taking a few proactive measures, you can significantly reduce the potential for damage and ensure the survival and vitality of your trees and shrubs.

Preparing Trees for Winter 2023

Trees - Winter Drought Protection 2024

Proudly brought to you by Cleanfarms, the MD of Willow Creek, and the Willow Creek Regional Landfill. 

launching on February 16, 2023 with a Producer Demonstration Day, this program will provide producers a convenient method of properly disposing of their clean, properly machine-rolled grain bags and clean, bagged bail twine at the Cleanfarms drop-off location at the Willow Creek Regional Landfill (by appointment only).

Please contact Ryan Dovell (403-682-7834) or Gary Murray (403-625-6095) to book an appointment, or for inquiries regarding this program.  

Since it’s establishment in 1973, the Farmer’s Advocate Office (FAO) has been a consistent resource for Albertan farmers and ranchers.  

Navigating a renewable energy lease is a complicated process for landowners, and the below document, Negotiating Renewable Energy, is designed to give those landowners the ability to ask informed questions about an incoming lease for wind or solar projects. This publication consolidates the relevant information from the various regulators, departments, and agencies within the province to streamline the learning required by landowners being approached about renewable energy projects. As an advocate, the FAO does not create policy, but will provide comment on existing laws and policies and work as a liaison between landowners, industry, government, and regulators.

Have you been approached about participating in a lease for wind or solar energy development? Are you anticipating this may happen in your area in the near future? Or are you just interested in information about the renewable energy leasing process? The Alberta’s Farmer’s Advocate Office (FAO) has a guide that can help!

Negotiating Renewable Energy in Alberta:$Department/deptdocs.nsf/all/agdex16246/$FILE/negotiating-renewable-energy-leases-v2-jun-17.pdf

Click here if you are interested in more information about the Farmer’s Advocate Office (FAO):

The following equipment & Services are for use by ratepayers of the Municipal District of Willow Creek No. 26. Ratepayers from another district can rent equipment through their ASB Department.

A deposit is required when any equipment is rented, payable through a cheque.  To book these items, call the Agricultural Service Board at (403) 625-3351 ext 229 or 249.

Sprayers on a skid

Weed Sprayer - Herbicides
100-gallon slip tank with spray unit that slides into the back of a ½ ton
$30/day (minimum charge of 1 day) / Deposit of $100 is required                                                                                                   For use on fencelines, slough areas, thistle patches, burdock, etc.

High-Pressure Sprayer – Pesticides
100-gallon slip tank with spray
$30 /day (minimum charge of 1 day) / Deposit of $100 is required.
For use on for shelterbelts, trees, etc.

Backpack Sprayer 
No Charge, 2 weeks maximum, $250 deposit is required.
For use on small spot-spray weeds.
* NOTE: ASB Restricted and Noxious Weed Spraying

100% of chemical costs and 100% of labor/equipment costs will be charged to the property owner for the spraying of restricted and noxious weeds on private lands. Contact the ASB for more details. 

Livestock Equipment

Portable Livestock Scale
$100 per day / Damage Deposit of $500 is required.

Livestock Tag Reader
No Charge / Maximum of 3-day usage / Damage Deposit of $500 is required.

Soil Conservation Equipment   

*NOTE: $50 penalty for not washing equipment upon returning

Straw Incorporator
$100 per day / Damage Deposit of $200 is required. For incorporating straw into the soil using a 14-foot drum with narrow cleats.

Manure Spreader
$300 per day / Delivery Charge of $50 / Damage Deposit of $1,000 is required.
For use where manure is to be applied to build organic matter or prevent erosion

Broadcast Seeder
No charge $50 deposit
Handheld spreader

Animal Control

Skunk Traps
No Charge / Damage Deposit of $70 is required.

Magpie Trap
No Charge / Damage Deposit of $70 is required.

Liquid concentrate strychnine is no longer registered through the PMRA and Health Canada, and can no longer be sold as of March 4, 2021. On March 4, 2023 the possession and use of strychnine will be disallowed. 

Richardson’s Ground Squirrel control alternatives are available to certified applicators, and farmers (as per label) to mitigate infestations. Alternatives include (but not limited to):

Rozol RTU– a chlorophacinone product (anti-coagulant/multiple feedings required)

  • Can be purchased through UFA

Burrow Oat Bait – a zinc phosphide product (acute-single dose/production of phosphine gas in stomach)

  • Can be purchased through South Country CO-OP

For more information, or for other rodenticide options contact Carla Preachuk, Gary Murray, or Ryan Dovell. Contact information can be found on Agricultural Services & Contacts page. 

Richardson Ground Squirrel control information

Richardson’s Ground Squirrel Control Trial – Alternatives to Strychnine

The Municipal District of Willow Creek No. 26 has seen the need for some firm guidelines regarding the use and care of the roadside vegetation within the municipal boundaries.

- Tall vegetation causes problems with snow drifting in the winter months and with visibility and wildlife encounters in the summer and fall months.
- Tall vegetation also causes problems with weed control on the roadside.
- The municipality understands that some producers rely on the forage harvested from roadsides and this policy is not intended to infringe upon that.
- The municipality also understands that there is a concern with liability if the roadside vegetation is not kept at a safe level.
- Therefore the municipality has adopted the following guidelines for the control of roadside vegetation:

  • For the purpose of this policy, roadside vegetation is considered to be grasses and forbs which grow on the roadside area. This does not include woody species which are over one meter in height.
  • Any individual harvesting roadside vegetation assumes full liability against accident or injury to themselves, their staff, or the general public at any stage of the harvesting procedure.
  • All bales, either whole or broken, must be picked up within a reasonable time.
  • Landowners adjacent to roadsides have first right to ditch vegetation up to July 15, of the current growing year.
  • After the July 15 deadline, the roadside vegetation becomes public domain and may be cut by whoever chooses.
  • The municipality agrees not to mow the roadside vegetation before the July 15 date except with prior consultation with adjacent landowners.
  • The municipality also reserves the right to control the roadside vegetation anytime after the July 15 deadline regardless of any agreements made between private individuals.
  • Woody vegetation on the roadside may be controlled by the municipality if it is deemed necessary.

Soil Conservation Considerations: 

  • At this stage the focus will likely be about getting something planted however if considering manure or straw incorporation it should be done before planting or ideally utilized for Fall as a remediation tool, and to assist with rebuilding soil health.  
  • As soon as possible level and plant fields with a drill that creates as much surface roughness as possible.
  • Cereals are preferred for planting, try to steer away from broadleaf options this year.
  • Winter Wheat this fall, which will help with building cover as quickly as possible.
  • If requiring a non cereal option Peas could be a possibility if planted in combination with Barley, and removing Barley with herbicide as soon as there is certainty that the peas have established (caution if there has been a soil type herbicide applied for example. Edge)
  • If you have straw available it can be incorporated on knolls or areas that have been focal points for soil erosion.  Every body’s situations will be different. 
  • For native pasture or areas that were predominantly native, often best to let things come back or be cautious with the seed mix if the desire is to retain a native condition.
  • The MD does have a 14’ straw incorporator available for rent as well.


Please feel free to contact Carla Preachuk, Agricultural Fieldman at (403) 625-1656 or  


If anyone has specific question’s they want to discuss Robb Dunn, Cropping System Specialist from FarmWise Inc., Lethbridge has stated he will be happy to help.



MD of Willow Creek Soil Conservation article April 8