The disease can rob farmers of up to half of their canola yields
By Diego Flammini
A yield-robbing disease has re-appeared in some Saskatchewan canola fields.
“In 2017, it’s the first time we’ve really seen (clubroot) in commercial canola fields,” Barbara Ziesman, a provincial plant disease specialist, told Global News on Monday.
Saskatchewan’s 23,000 canola farmers averaged a yield of 42.2 bushels per acre in 2017, according to the provincial agriculture ministry. The canola industry as a whole contributed more than $12 billion to the local economy, the Canola Council of Canada reported.
The disease impacted some fields in 2008, 2011 and 2012.
If clubroot is left unchecked, however, those numbers could decrease in 2018.
The disease can also damage mustard, cabbage and broccoli crops.
Clubroot “survives in the soil and causes disease of the root below the ground,” Ziesman told Global News. “It is a disease that can cause up to 50 per cent yield loss or even higher under severe conditions.”
The Ministry of Agriculture is collecting field data through surveys to track clubroot’s potential spread.
They are “based on where we know where (clubroot is) occurring in neighbouring provinces, but also where the environmental conditions favour,” Ziesman told Global News.
Growers first spotted clubroot in Manitoba in 2013.
In Alberta, the number of confirmed cases of clubroot increased from 12 in 2003 to 2,700 last year, according to the provincial agriculture ministry.
Ziesman encourages producers to scout their fields regularly for signs of clubroot.
In canola seedlings, the disease can result in wilting, stunting and yellowing. The canola plants may even die between the late rosette and early podding stage.
Province of Manitoba photo