A ministry of agriculture survey uncovered 43 infected fields
By Diego Flammini
A disease that can lead to total crop loss in canola is spreading throughout Saskatchewan.
Clubroot was present on 43 fields in 19 rural municipalities in the province, Saskatchewan Agriculture’s clubroot survey map shows. The survey tested 1,500 fields during the summer and fall of 2018.
The number of clubroot cases is up from just 10 fields in two crop districts in 2017.
Seeing the disease move to different parts of the province isn’t surprising, said Ian Epp, a Saskatchewan-based agronomy specialist with the Canola Council of Canada.
“For those of us who are working in the canola industry, we’ve known this has been coming for a while and that there’s been clubroot around,” he told Farms.com. “This survey data just supports what we’ve been seeing in the field. The map tells us this is a very serious issue in Saskatchewan.”
Clubroot restricts the crop’s ability to obtain water and nutrients from the soil. The key to managing the disease is to keep pathogen levels as low as possible. An extended crop rotation can also help minimize yield losses, Saskatchewan Agriculture says.
Outside of some seed treatments offering resistance, farmers cannot control clubroot.
“Currently, there are no registered fungicides for clubroot control or suppression in canola,” Alberta Agriculture says.
So growers should focus on continued education and consulting with crop advisers, Epp said.
“Our message hasn’t changed all that much,” he said. “We’re focusing on messages about when to strategically clean your equipment, getting farmers to have conversations with people who access their land, and helping give farmers enough information for them to make good decisions on their farms.”
Clubroot first appeared in Western Canada in Edmonton, Alta. in 2003. The disease has since spread across Alberta.