Dr. Thomas Kelly Turkington

Image Thomas Kelly Turkington
Research Scientist - Plant Pathology

Currently, Kelly is a plant pathologist with the Lacombe Research and Development Centre, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, in Lacombe, Alberta. His main focus is on cereal and canola diseases as part of collaborative studies with colleagues from across Canada.  He is currently involved with research related to the development and use of plant resistance for disease control in cereals, studying the impact of cropping systems on disease development, plant disease surveillance and risk assessment, and the development of practical integrated solutions for crop health and disease management.

Through his father Tom, his graduate student supervisor Robin Morrall, and his interactions with farmers, industry staff and research/extension colleagues, over the past 40 years Kelly has developed a passion for field-based plant pathology research and the development of practical solutions for effective disease management.

 

Current research and/or projects

  • Canadian National Barley Cluster – 2018-2023, Canadian Agricultural Partnership.  Project Number: ASC-11, Activity 5.  Project Title: Phenotyping barley breeding lines for resistance to leaf spot diseases. 

 

  • Canadian National Barley Cluster – 2018-2023, Canadian Agricultural Partnership.  Project Number: ASC-11, Activity 7.  Project Title: Barley pathogen variation and surveillance: implications for managing disease via host resistance and fungicides. 

 

  • Canadian National Wheat Cluster – 2018-2023, Canadian Agricultural Partnership.  Project Number: ASC-08, Activity 20.  Project Title: Investigating crop management options to lessen the impact of fusarium head blight in wheat.

 

  • Canola AgriScience Research Cluster – 2018-2023, Canadian Agricultural Partnership.  Project Number: ASC-02, Activity 18. Project Title: Improving the management of sclerotinia stem rot of canola using fungicides and better risk assessment tools.

 

  • Integrated Crop Agronomy Cluster – 2018-2023, Canadian Agricultural Partnership.  Project Number: ASC-04, Activity 3.  Project Title: Development and coordination of a prairie crop disease monitoring network for Western Canada.

Research and/or project statements

•  Lacombe Research Centre, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), Lacombe, Alberta.  Research Scientist I, November 1996 – March 2000, Research Scientist II, April 2000-March 2007, Research Scientist III, April 2007-March 2017, Research Scientist IV, April 2017-Present.

- Collaborate with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) research agronomists, weed scientists and plant pathologists on research projects investigating plant disease management and the development of sustainable crop production systems.

- Collaborate with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry (AAF), AAFC (Brandon) and University of Saskatchewan breeders and pathologists on the identification and development of disease resistant barley germplasm, breeding lines and cultivars, studies of variation in scald, net blotch, and spot blotch pathogen virulence and host reactions, and management strategies for prolonging the durability of host resistance.

- Responsible for overseeing and coordinating western Canadian barley screening programs for field resistance to scald, and net-form and spot-form net blotch.

- Conduct experiments on and develop approaches and strategies for integrated management of plant diseases and risk assessment as part of sustainable crop production strategies focused on plant health.

- Provided professional pathology support, advice and expertise as part of the joint Alberta/Canada Barley Development Agreement, the joint AAFC Lacombe/Alberta Canola Producers Commission research agreement, and as a Research Scientist with AAFC.

- Assist with the evaluation of breeding material for resistance to loose smut and covered smut of barley.

- Interact, cooperate, consult, and provide advice with a range of AAFC, Canadian Grain Commission (CGC), provincial and University scientists, provincial extension personnel, and industry officials in areas related to crop production systems, disease management, disease resistance, disease and pathogen monitoring, disease risk assessment, teaching, and extension.

- Participate in a variety of grower, industry, and scientific meetings on an annual basis.

- Manage a collaborative research program and supervise two research technicians.

 

Supervisors: Prior to 2003: Dr. D. Bailey, Director and Dr. G.W. Clayton, Section Head, Research Agronomist, Lacombe Research Centre, Lacombe, AB.  2003-2005: Dr. D. Wall, Acting Science Director, Grains and Oilseeds, Sustainable Production Systems Theme, Saskatoon Research Centre, Saskatoon, SK, and Dr. J. Bole/Dr. B. Coulman/Dr. P.A. Burnett, Acting Science Directors, Cultivar Development and Other Genetic Enhancements, Sustainable Production Systems Theme, Cereal Research Centre, Winnipeg, MB/AAFC Saskatoon, SK/AAFC Lethbridge, AB.  2005 to 2007: Dr. J. Stewart, Science Director, Sustainable Production Systems, Crop Genetic Enhancement, Lethbridge Research Centre, Lethbridge, AB.  2008 to 2010: Drs. M. Marcotte, P. Silva, and J. Lynch, Science Directors, Lacombe Research Centre, Lacombe, AB.  2010-2012: Dr. Paul McCaughey, Saskatoon Research Centre, Saskatoon, SK; 2012-2013: Dr. J. Stewart, Science Director, Lethbridge Research Centre, Lethbridge, AB; 2014-2020: Dr. F. Eudes, RDT Director, Lethbridge Research Centre, Lethbridge, AB.

 

Dr. Thomas Kelly Turkington is responsible for conducting research and is a recognized authority on issues and research related to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s (AAFC) strategic objectives related to increasing agricultural productivity; addressing threats to the agriculture and agri-food value chain; improving environmental performance.  His research on cereals and canola has led to: 1) the development of disease resistant barley varieties, which decrease risk, lower production costs, reduce pesticide inputs, and ultimately lead to more marketable products domestically and internationally; 2) the development of integrated crop and pest management strategies that have improved crop productivity and barley malting and brewing quality, reduced the threat and impact of plant diseases, and lowered input costs, while reducing environmental footprints and contributing to sector sustainability; 3) address threats to the agricultural value chain by improving our knowledge of the variable nature and distribution of pathogens, including the causal agents of fusarium head blight, clubroot, and barley leaf spots; 4) contributing to AAFC’s overall mandate to create better opportunities for farmers and all Canadians through agricultural research and innovation.

Professional activities / interests

  • Chair, Prairie Recommending Committee for Oat and Barley (PRCOB).PRCOB is responsible for the testing and evaluation of barley and oat candidate cultivars and for making recommendations to the Variety Registration Office of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency for their registration in western Canada and is part of the Prairie Grain Development Committee (PGDC). 2018-present.

  • Chair, Prairie Grain Development Committee (PGDC), formerly known as the Prairie Registration Recommending Committee for Grain (PRRCG), 2007-2011.

  • Member of the Sclerotinia stem rot steering committee (SSRSC), Canola Council of Canada.Invited by Clint Jurke, Canola Council of Canada.Provided input based on area of expertise and experience with stem rot of canola, while also bringing forward potential areas of concern for sclerotinia management.2019 to present.

  • Member of the AAFC Prairie Biovigilance Network Working Group and will contribute to all objectives of the working group. Chair Dr. B. McCallum, AAFC Morden, Co-Chair, C. Geddes, AAFC Lethbridge.The working group will establish the foundation and the role of the Prairie Biovigilance Network, and how the Network will be connected with efforts in the rest of Canada.Furthermore the working group will submit (in early 2020) a AAFC management requested LOI to: 1) support the development of a prairie-wide biovigilance network (PBN); 2) identify knowledge gaps that exist among the three key pest management disciplines in Canada (pathology, entomology, weed science) to build a deeper understanding of the most appropriate ways to integrate biovigilance concepts into a whole-farm agroecosystem approach to pest management; 3) identify of synergies in terms of sample and data collection and conduct research to support ongoing data collection that will contribute to the development of the PBN, e.g. development of a biovigilance sampling kit (note this is based on research efforts T.K. Turkington conducted in the late 1990’s with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry Cereal and Oilseed Specialists and in the early 2000’s with the Alberta Barley Commission); 4) facilitate the implementation of a new funding structure for the ongoing operations of long-term biovigilance research and pest management in western Canada.2019-present.

  • Member of the Canadian Plant Health Council (CPHC), Pest Surveillance Community of Practice, plant diseases.The objective of the Surveillance Working Group, developed under the Canadian Plant Health Council, is to improve the coordination of pest surveillance across Canada.This can be accomplished through increased collaboration between surveillance practitioners. A pest surveillance community of practice will facilitate collaboration, information sharing and protocol harmonization leading to increased coordination of surveillance across Canada.Invited to join in November 2019.

  • Barley Council of Canada, Beneficial Management Practices (BMP) & Agronomy Committee.Dr. Turkington was asked to be a member of the committee to comment on best management practices related to agronomy in relation to crop and pest management.The Beneficial Management Practices (BMP) & Agronomy Committee works on behalf of the barley industry to identify, evaluate and promote beneficial management practices (BMPs) across the value chain that address the demands for sustainable production and use in food, feed, malt and bio-product markets.2014-2017.

  • Chair of the Barley and Oat Disease Evaluation Team of the Prairie Registration and Recommending Committee for Grain, 1998-2006.

  • Member of the Barley and Oat Disease Evaluation Team of the Barley and Oat Evaluation Committee, Prairie Registration and Recommending Committee for Grain, 1996-present.

  • Coordinator of the 2-row barley disease evaluation coop trials, e Barley and Oat Disease Evaluation Team of the Barley and Oat Evaluation Committee, Prairie Registration and Recommending Committee for Grain, 1996-present.

  • Member of the Wheat, Rye, and Triticale Disease Evaluation Team of the Wheat, Rye, and Triticale Evaluation Subcommittee of the Prairie Registration and Recommending Committee for Grain, 2000-present.

  • Western Committee on Plant Diseases, alternate Cereals chapter chair “Guidelines for the Control of Plant Disease in Western Canada”, October 2000 to 2012.

  • Chair of the Western Committee on Plant Disease, October 2000-2003.

  • Western Committee on Plant Diseases, Cereals chapter chair “Guidelines for the Control of Plant Disease in Western Canada” and nominations committee, October 2013 to present.

  • Western Forum on Pest Management, Website Editor, Spring 2009 to present.

  • Coordinator of the Prairie Crop Disease Monitoring Network, 2018 to present.

  • Plant disease coordinator, Alberta Agriculture, Food and Rural Development Cereal & Oilseed Advisory Committee and Crop Protection Subcommittee.Responsible for updating the committee on cereal and oilseed disease issues and for updating and revising the disease reaction data for registered cereal varieties in the Alberta Agriculture, Food and Rural Development publication:Varieties of Cereal and Oilseed Crops for Alberta – 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2020 AGDEX 100/32.

  • Western Forum on Pest Management representative on the national Expert Committee on Integrated Pest Management, 2001 to 2004.

Education and awards

Education

  • University of Saskatchewan, Department of Biology, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. Doctor of Philosophy (Plant Pathology), August 1991.Supervisor: Professor R.A.A. Morrall.

  • University of Guelph Guelph, Department of Environmental Biology, Ontario, Canada.Non Degree (Environmental Biology), September 1988 - April 1989.Supervisor: Dr. R. Hall.

  • University of Saskatchewan, Department of Biology, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. Master of Science (Plant Pathology), January 1988.Supervisor: Professor R.A.A. Morrall.

  • University of Saskatchewan, College of Agriculture, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. Bachelor of Science in Agriculture (Honours in Agricultural Biology), May 1985.

 

Awards

  • AAFC Golden Harvest Award, Clubroot Risk Mitigation Initiative Team.This award recognizes the exceptional and significant contributions made to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada in the category of Innovation, Collaboration, and Service Excellence for scientific innovation, effective team-building, and outstanding outreach efforts.June 15, 2017.

  • AAFC Golden Harvest Award, Integrated Crop Management Team – Prairie/Boreal Plain Ecozone, in the category of Innovation, Collaboration, and Service Excellence, June 2015.

  • Turkington, T.K.2012.Travel award as invited speaker, presentation title: Integrated disease management.Department of Primary Industries, Agronomist Training Sessions, October 9-11, 2012.Presentation made each day and led hands on cereal foliar disease demonstration session on each day.Event held at DPI Horsham, VIC, Australia.Meeting organized by Drs. M. McLean and G. Hollaway, DPI Horsham.DPI Horsham provided up to $6,000 in travel support for Dr. Turkington to fly to Melbourne, VIC, Australia, participate in training sessions, visit research plots including collaborative trials and discuss ongoing and future potential research.

  • Participated in the G126 - Essentials of Managing in the Public Service for New Executives, September 21 to 25, 2009, The Canada School of Public Service, Ottawa, Ontario, and successfully passed the online examination for the course, October 7, 2009.

  • Participated in the G127 - Essentials of Executive Management, November 26 to 27, 2009, The Canada School of Public Service, Ottawa, Ontario, and successfully passed the online examination for the course, December 13, 2009.

  • Visiting Specialist award for Western Australia from August 15 to September 14, 2008 as part of the Visiting Specialist Program, Department of Agriculture and Food, WA (DAFWA).

  • Group Achievement Award for the development and participation in the InfoSynergy Team, Alberta Agriculture, Food and Rural Development (AAFRD), June 2001.The InfoSynergy Team was collaboration between AAFC Lacombe Scientists and AAFRD Extension staff to extend early generation research results and other technology transfer.

  • Canadian Government Laboratory Visiting Fellowship, Plant Research Centre, Agriculture Canada Research Branch, Ottawa, Ontario, October 1991 -February 1993.

  • College of Graduate Studies and Research Ph.D. Scholarship, University of Saskatchewan, September 1990 - April 1991, September 1989 - April 1990, and September 1988 - April 1989.

  • College of Graduate Studies and Research Summer Scholarship, University of Saskatchewan, May - August, 1985 - 1991.

  • T. C.Vanterpool Prize in Plant Pathology and Mycology, University of Saskatchewan, 1989 and 1986.

  • Rene Vandeveld Postgraduate Scholarship, University of Saskatchewan, September 1987 - April 1988 and September 1986 - June 1987.

  • Purdy Postgraduate Scholarship, University of Saskatchewan, September 1986 - June 1987.

  • Weetman Postgraduate Scholarship, University of Saskatchewan, September 1985 - June 1986.

  • College of Agriculture Bursary, University of Saskatchewan, September 1985.

International experience and/or work

  • Member of the international organizing committee, 1st International Workshop on Barley Leaf Diseases, SalsomaggioreTerme, Italy, June 3-6, 2014, and 2nd International Workshop on Barley Leaf Diseases, International Center of Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA), Rabat, Morocco, April 5-7, 2017, and 3rd International Workshop on Barley Leaf Diseases, St. Petersburg, Pushkin, Russian Federation (Note meeting cancelled due to COVID-19).

  • International Society of Plant Pathology (ISPP) councillor, 2007-2011.Also invited to participate in the selection of the venue of the International Congress of Plant Pathology 2018 (ICPP 2018).Councillors studied the information in the proposal documentation as part of bids submitted for the ICPP 2018.

  • Invited speaker, presentation title: Integrated disease management.Department of Primary Industries, Agronomist Training Sessions, October 9-11, 2012.Presentation made each day and led hands on cereal foliar disease demonstration session on each day.Event held at DPI Horsham, VIC, Australia.Meeting organized by Drs. M. McLean and G. Hollaway, DPI Horsham.DPI Horsham provided travel support for Dr. Turkington to fly to Melbourne, VIC, Australia, participate in training sessions, visit research plots including collaborative trials and discuss ongoing and future potential research.

  • Participated in various producer, government and industry events and collaborative interactions in Western Australia from August 15 to September 14, 2008 as part of the Visiting Specialist Program, Department of Agriculture and Food, WA (DAFWA).DAFWA provided funding to support travel, accommodation and meal costs for T.K. Turkington's trip to Western Australia.

  • Organizer of the 3rd International Workshop on Barley Leaf Blights, 23-27 July, 2006, University of Alberta Conference Centre, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

Key publications

  1. Turkington, T.K. 2021. Scouting and assessment for cereal leaf diseases, 2021. Prairie Crop Disease Monitoring Network article on the challenges of the 2021 drought and the importance of end-of-season cereal disease scouting as there may have been localized areas with more rainfall and potential disease development. August 9, 2021. url: https://prairiecropdisease.blogspot.com/2021/08/scouting-and-assessment-for-cereal-leaf.html (retrieved 2022 Feb 11).

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  2. Turkington, T.K. 2021. Scouting for sclerotinia stem rot and blackleg of canola 2021. Prairie Crop Disease Monitoring Network article on the challenges of the 2021 drought and the importance of end-of-season canola disease scouting as there may have been localized areas with more rainfall and potential disease development. August 9, 2021. url: https://prairiecropdisease.blogspot.com/2021/08/scouting-for-sclerotinia-stem-rot-and.html (retrieved 2022 Feb 11).

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  3. 21. Turkington, T.K. 2021. Twitter post regarding information regarding verticillium stripe, a disease that was observed in canola for the first time in 2014. August 8, 2021. url: https://twitter.com/pcdmn/status/1424411871348731905 (retrieved 2022 Feb 11).

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  4. Turkington, T.K. 2021. Twitter post indicating that cereal rust/wind trajectory risk reports from the PCMDN are now finished for 2021. In general, the main period of rust risk for Prairie wheat crops is mid-May to early-mid June for winter wheat and the month of June and early July for spring wheat. July 9, 2021. url: https://twitter.com/pcdmn/status/1413530519963422721 (retrieved 2022 Feb 11).

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  5. Islam, M. N., Mourita, T., Oghenekaro, A.O., Kutcher, H. R., Harris, L.J., Overy, D. P., Turkington, T. K., Xu, W., and Wang, X. (2021) Genotyping by sequencing analysis of Fusarium poae field populations affecting small grain cereals in Canada, Tri-Society Virtual Conference, July 5-9 (oral).

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  6. 23. Turkington, T.K. and Otani, J. 2021. Twitter post indicating the launch of our NEW Prairie Crop Disease Monitoring Network SUBSCRIPTION CAMPAIGN! We're shifting to a new, improved way to share PCDMN’s Blog info. July 2, 2021. url: https://twitter.com/pcdmn/status/1411014102147764226 (retrieved 2022 Feb 11).

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  7. Turkington, T.K. , Weiss, R., Otani, J., Vankosky, M. 2021. 2021 Cereal Rust Risk Report (June 22-28, 2021). Prairie Crop Disease Monitoring Network Blog Post. Released June 30, 2021. url: https://prairiecropdisease.blogspot.com/2021/06/2021-cereal-rust-risk-report-june-22-28.html (retrieved 2022 Feb 11).

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  8. Turkington, T.K. 2021. Twitter post indicating the eighth weekly Prairie cereal rust risk report from the @PCDMN is available now at the PCDMN Blog. June 30, 2021. url: https://twitter.com/pcdmn/status/1410350268345061376 (retrieved 2022 Feb 11).

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  9. Turkington, T.K. 2021. Twitter post indicating that although dry warm conditions may be limiting Prairie plant disease risk, localized weather systems may result in areas with more rainfall and thus potential risks that should be evaluated. Covers cereal leaf spots, sclerotinia stem rot and ascochyta/mycosphaerella of field peas. June 28, 2021. url: https://twitter.com/pcdmn/status/1409604842528649222 (retrieved 2022 Feb 11).

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  10. Turkington, T.K. 2021. Twitter post regarding checking out the risk assessment schemes that are available from the Prairie pulse growers commissions. June 28, 2021. url: https://twitter.com/pcdmn/status/1409604868860530689 (retrieved 2022 Feb 11).

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  11. Turkington, T.K. 2021. Twitter post indicating the seventh weekly Prairie cereal rust risk report from the @PCDMN is available now at the PCDMN Blog. June 24, 2021. url: https://twitter.com/pcdmn/status/1408236162079236097 (retrieved 2022 Feb 11).

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  12. Turkington, T.K. , Weiss, R., Otani, J., Vankosky, M. 2021. 2021 Cereal Rust Risk Report (June 16-21, 2021). Prairie Crop Disease Monitoring Network Blog Post. Released June 24, 2021. url: https://prairiecropdisease.blogspot.com/2021/06/2021-cereal-rust-risk-report-june-16-21.html (retrieved 2022 Feb 11).

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  13. Turkington, T.K., McBurney, Tondevold, R., Ashton, J., M., Harding, M., Akhavan, A., Kaminski, D. 2021. Twitter post regarding updated QR codes and web links for the Prairie Crop Disease Monitoring Network Quick Disease Reporter Tool (PCDMN QDRT). June 20, 2021. url: https://twitter.com/pcdmn/status/1406752713497530371 (retrieved 2022 Feb 11).

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  14. Turkington, T.K. 2021. Twitter post indicating the sixth weekly Prairie cereal rust risk report from the @PCDMN is available now at the PCDMN Blog. June 18, 2021. url: https://twitter.com/pcdmn/status/1405953518461128706 (retrieved 2022 Feb 11).

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  15. Turkington, T.K. , Weiss, R., Otani, J., Vankosky, M. 2021. 2021 Cereal Rust Risk Report (June 11-15, 2021). Prairie Crop Disease Monitoring Network Blog Post. Released June 18, 2021. url: https://prairiecropdisease.blogspot.com/2021/06/2021-cereal-rust-risk-report-june-11-15.html (retrieved 2022 Feb 11).

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  16. Turkington, T.K., McBurney, Tondevold, R., Ashton, J., M., Harding, M., Akhavan, A., Kaminski, D. 2021. Twitter post regarding the release of the Prairie Crop Disease Monitoring Network Quick Disease Reporter Tool (PCDMN QDRT). The PCDMN QDRT can be used to make quick general reports of diseases in common crops over the Prairie region as part of the Prairie Crop Disease Management Network. This information can be used to identify regions where Prairie crop disease outbreaks are starting to occur and where further in-crop scouting and risk assessment are needed, especially when a fungicide application is being considered. June 18, 2021. url: https://twitter.com/pcdmn/status/1405960256707076100 (retrieved 2022 Feb 11).

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  17. McBurney, M., Turkington, T.K., Tondevold, R., Ashton, J., M., Harding, M., Akhavan, A., Kaminski, D. 2021. Announcing the Prairie Crop Disease Monitoring Network Quick Disease Reporter Tool (PCDMN QDRT). The PCDMN QDRT can be used to make quick general reports of diseases in common crops over the Prairie region as part of the Prairie Crop Disease Management Network. This information can be used to identify regions where Prairie crop disease outbreaks are starting to occur and where further in-crop scouting and risk assessment are needed, especially when a fungicide application is being considered. Released June 18, 2021. url: https://prairiecropdisease.blogspot.com/2021/06/announcing-prairie-crop-disease.html (retrieved 2022 Feb 11).

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  18. 9. Turkington, T.K. , Weiss, R., Otani, J., Vankosky, M. 2021. 2021 Cereal Rust Risk Report (June 4-10, 2021). Prairie Crop Disease Monitoring Network Blog Post. Released June 11, 2021. url: https://prairiecropdisease.blogspot.com/2021/06/2021-cereal-rust-risk-report-may-28_11.html (retrieved 2022 Feb 11).

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  19. Turkington, T.K. 2021. Twitter post indicating the fifth weekly Prairie cereal rust risk report from the @PCDMN is available now at the PCDMN Blog. June 11, 2021. url: https://twitter.com/pcdmn/status/1403345515589287937 (retrieved 2022 Feb 11).

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  20. Turkington, T.K. 2021. Twitter post indicating the fourth weekly Prairie cereal rust risk report from the @PCDMN is available now at the PCDMN Blog. June 4, 2021. url: https://twitter.com/pcdmn/status/1400880025533042694 (retrieved 2022 Feb 11).

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Research facility

6000 C and E Trail
Lacombe, AB T4L 1W1
Canada

Affiliations

  • Member of the Canadian Phytopathological Society, 1985 – 2013, 2017-present.

  • Canadian Phytopathological Society (CPS), CPS Newsletter Editor, June 2003 to September 2011.

  • Member of the American Phytopathological Society, 1992 – 2009.

  • Member of the Plant Pathology Society of Alberta, 1995 – present.

Language

English