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How to identify verticillium stripe

Verticillium stripe is the hottest new disease in canola world, rising to yield-damaging levels in Manitoba and eastern Saskatchewan and found in all growing regions across the Prairies. Many farmers and agronomists are learning how to tell it apart from blackleg or sclerotinia stem rot. This article provides the keys to accurate verticillium stripe identification.

The ideal time to scout for verticillium stripe is at harvest when symptoms are most obvious. No fungicide or soil amendment is known to be effective on verticillium stripe, so accurate identification is all about future management.

Verticillium microsclerotia are soil-borne, so steps to keep soil in place could provide some reduction in spread. Two- or three-year breaks between canola crops are good disease management in general, but verticillium microsclerotia can remain viable for many years. Plant tolerance or resistance is likely to provide the best solution, and plant breeders are looking into this trait.

Blackleg and sclerotinia stem rot, if those are the diseases present, are more manageable through genetic resistance, crop rotation and fungicides.

For more on verticillium stripe identification and management, read the Canola Encyclopedia verticillium stripe chapter and this Canola Watch fundamentals article – Verticillium stripe identification. While there, be sure to sign up to receive the weekly Canola Watch e-newsletter.

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