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Possible new way of detecting club root

Trained dogs might be able to detect club root.
 
Assistant Agricultural Fieldman Gary Murray told Agricultural Service Board members of a New Brunswick dog trainer, Bill Grimmer, who is training dogs to sniff out club root, a problem in canola crops. The plan is to bring the dogs to Alberta for a test to see how successful sniffing out club root is.
 
Murray said what is done by the MD when a club root infestation is suspected in a field is to walk the field in a large  W shape and pick out about 100 plants for testing.
 
The root of the plant is needed for a positive club root verification. Club root can cause root swellings in canola and plants in the Brassicaceae family, choking off nutrients and causing premature death of the plant. Brassicaceae family plants include radishes, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts and turnips.
 
The club root spores are difficult to remove from equipment after it has worked in an infested field.
 
Josh Fankhauser, representing the central ASB district, said he had visited the Vegreville area, where club root is a problem. Fankhauser said cleaning machinery after being in a club root infested field is “about a three-day job” for one person.
 
“They took the whole drill apart and washed everything,” Fankhauser said. “That was a big job.”
 
Club root infestations have not been a problem so far in the Municipal District of Willow Creek, but it is a threat, Murray said.  It is a problem in northern Alberta and is showing up in southern Alberta, he noted.
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