By Top Crop Manager
This summer and fall, SaskCanola is offering free disease testing for blackleg and clubroot in collaboration with the Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture.
“Clubroot is an invasive soil-borne disease that deprives farmers of their hard-earned income. Clubroot is easier to manage when it’s found at low levels in a soil test before there are visible symptoms in the crop. Blackleg populations can shift over time when there is selection pressure from genetic resistance of canola. For this reason, it’s important for future seeding decisions to select a canola variety with a different resistance gene package,” said Keith Fournier, SaskCanola’s research committee chair, outlining the importance of testing canola fields across the province for these invasive and costly diseases.
SaskCanola’s clubroot monitoring program is available again this year for Saskatchewan canola growers and their agrologists. Soil testing is the best way to detect the clubroot pathogen (Plasmodiophora brassicae) before any symptoms appear on the canola plant.
Farmers can request a soil sampling bag from SaskCanola by calling 306-975-0262, from a Ministry of Agriculture regional office or a Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities (SARM) plant health officer. Soil collected from the field is then submitted for clubroot testing, with SaskCanola covering the cost.
For early detection, the ideal time to test for clubroot is in the fall. At this point, the galls on the canola plant’s roots are decomposing and starting to release spores into the soil. Private sector agrologists are encouraged to work with growers to ensure that at-risk fields are identified and tested so that the spread of clubroot disease can be reduced.
Knowledge is power in the fight against blackleg disease. Identifying which blackleg races are present in a field helps guide canola farmers and their agronomists in their seed variety decision-making.
SaskCanola is offering a free blackleg test to the first 200 registered canola growers who apply. Farmers can collect plant stems suspected of infection and then contact SaskCanola to receive a blackleg testing code. SaskCanola provides the test results by email.