BASF, University of Alberta partner on $1.25M clubroot resistance research
By Top Crop Manager
BASF Canada Agricultural Solutions (BASF) is partnering with the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Agricultural, Life & Environmental Sciences (ALES) on a research project examining clubroot resistance in canola. BASF will invest $1.25M over a five-year period until 2026 and seek to deliver findings that support ongoing efforts to combat strains of clubroot in canola.
“With plant science innovation and technology playing a critical role in helping growers achieve higher yields, working with the University of Alberta will enable us to further our efforts to help advance Canada’s agriculture industry,” said Stewart Brandt, head of global oilseed breeding at BASF in a statement.
Brent Collins, head of seeds and traits, Canada at BASF added, “Canola plays a vital role in the Canadian economy, with 90 per cent of canola grown and harvested in Canada being exported to over 50 markets worldwide. In order to continue to drive the industry forward, ongoing investment and stakeholder collaboration is crucial. Canola is a true example of a Canadian success story, and by working together to help growers deliver healthy, sustainable and abundant crops, we can continue to elevate our contributions to the environment, economy and countless communities.”
Clubroot is estimated to attack more than 300 canola fields across Alberta alone. Now, new clubroot strains are now overcoming resistance in previously bred resistant cultivators, thus posing challenges across the Prairies in the future. ALES plant scientists Stephen Strelkov and Sheau-Fang Hwang will lead the project as they work to identify sources of pathogen resistance that can be bred into canola seeds.
“When combined with other methods through an integrated approach, including crop rotation, soil supplements and sanitizing machinery, these canola varieties will hopefully add a much-needed extra layer of protection for greater control,” said Strelkov.
The partnership will also provide research opportunities for a post-doctoral fellow, as well as graduate and undergraduate students to work in plant science, increasing capacity for the next generation of talent in the field to work alongside the industry in plant pathology and crop improvement.