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RDAR invests $833K for canola clubroot research

August 4, 2023  By Top Crop Manager

RDAR, a non-profit that targets strategic investment in producer-led agriculture research, is investing $833,000 into canola clubroot research.

Clubroot (Plasmodiophora brassicae) is a critical disease in canola that threatens a crop that contributed $12.9 billion (2022) in exports to Canada’s economy ($4 billion in Alberta). By infecting the plant’s root, clubroot disrupts water and nutrient uptake, resulting in stunted growth, reduced seed quality and significant yield losses of up to 50 per cent.

Clubroot not only affects field productivity but also land value since buyers and renters perceive the clubroot-infested land to be less desirable.


“Clubroot remains a significant risk to canola production in the Prairies. This research initiative has the potential to enhance the strength and lifespan of clubroot-resistant traits by presenting canola breeders with new genes and tools,” says Clinton Dobson, RDAR executive director of research. “The ultimate goal is to provide more comprehensive resistance options for canola varieties to protect Alberta farm income.”

RDAR, the Alberta Canola Producers Commission and the Saskatchewan Canola Development Commission (SaskCanola) awarded $1.25 million to Dr. Stephen Strelkov, professor of plant pathology at the University of Alberta, to lead an expert team in:

  • Breeding resistance into new crop varieties.
  • Developing new ways to control the pathogen.
  • Identifying clubroot resistance genes.

As part of this comprehensive five-year project (2023 – 2028), Strelkov’s team will contribute to the sustainable long-term control of clubroot and improved resistance stewardship, helping producers manage and reduce clubroot spores contaminating their fields.

“We are very grateful for the support for this project,” says Strelkov. “This funding will make an important contribution to the sustainable long-term management of clubroot of canola.”

Current methods for managing clubroot include an “integrated approach” that includes crop rotation, soil supplements, and sanitizing machinery. Combining these methods and strategies with newly developed resistant canola varieties can give canola producers an added layer of protection for clubroot control.

Visit here to learn more about the project.


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