The ministry hopes to collect samples from nearly 2,000 fields
By Diego Flammini
The Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture is increasing the number of fields it surveys for clubroot in 2019.
Officials started to collect samples from canola fields in July. They hope to receive 1,800 samples by the time the surveys wrap up in October. The ministry collected about 1,500 samples last year and found the pathogen in 43 fields.
In addition to the increased number of samples, Saskatchewan Agriculture is also changing where it surveys fields.
About 600 canola specimens will come from areas where clubroot has been confirmed to better understand the affect the disease has in the highest-risk areas of the province.
The remaining 1,200 samples, however, will come from fields that weren’t surveyed last year.
The ministry is following this strategy for a specific reason, said Barbara Ziesman, a plant disease specialist with Saskatchewan Agriculture.
“We want to gain a better understanding of the distribution of the disease in the province,” she told Farms.com.
So, the provincial ag ministry is taking a three-pronged approach to clubroot testing.
In addition to surveying areas where the disease has been found and new parts of the province, government officials are also encouraging farmers to scout for the clubroot pathogen through a voluntary soil testing program.
The more information available about clubroot, the better for the industry, Ziesman said.
“Once we get a better understanding of the distribution, we can raise awareness and encourage farmers in high-risk areas to be proactive about clubroot management. The earlier they (identify) it, the easier it is to manage,” she said. “It’s also important for guiding biosecurity and research. The more that we know about the severity of clubroot in the province, the better off we are to guide the research to ensure producers have the tools they need to manage the disease.”