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Clean seeding equipment cuts risk of clubroot

Agronomy specialist urges farmers to clean their equipment to reduce the spread of clubroot. Clubroot is spread through resting spores in the soil or in canola plant material. Knocking off soil lumps and sweeping soil off machinery can minimize this transfer.


May 2, 2008
By Canola Council of Canada

Topics

May 1, 2008

Whether
fields are mucky or dry this spring, cleaning farm equipment is the best way to
reduce the spread of clubroot. Now that seeders, cultivators and sprayers are
moving into the field en masse, Erin Brock, Canola Council agronomy specialist,
urges farmers across the prairies, and especially affected areas of
Alberta, to make sure their
equipment is as clean as possible. 

Canola
growers can minimize the spread of clubroot this spring, simply by knocking off
soil lumps and sweeping loose soil off machinery, she adds. Clubroot can spread
only through resting spores in the soil or in canola plant material containing
galls. Resting spores are most likely to spread via contaminated soil carried
from field to field by equipment, she says.

“That’s
why it’s important to clean wheel wells, tires, the undercarriage and any other
areas where dirt really accumulates,” Brock says.  “I recommend a power
washer with either hot water or steam. Then finish off with a weak disinfectant
of 1-2% active ingredient bleach solution.”

She
admits this is a time-consuming extra headache at seeding but “it’s a must –
and not just a quick slosh of bleach on dirty tires.”

Because
organic matter deactives bleach, Brock advises growers to remove all the soil
first, use clean – not dugout – water, and make sure the bleach solution
remains on machinery for at least 10-15 minutes before rinsing.

She also
recommends planting a grassed area near the field entrance on which to do the
cleaning. Use an air line from the air drill fan to make it easier to blow off
dust.

Clubroot is a serious disease of
canola, mustard and other crops in the cabbage family. There are no measures to
control it in canola. It was first found in canola fields near
Edmonton in 2003. By the end of 2007,
clubroot was present in 10 municipalities around
Edmonton and one county in southern Alberta. It was added as a declared pest to
Alberta’s Agricultural Pests Act.