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Learning more about plant diseases

By: Barb Ziesman, PhD, AAg, Provincial Specialist, Plant Disease

Blackleg of canola in 2016
Crop diseases were a common discussion topic this summer. Warm, wet conditions were favourable for development of many diseases, with most crops affected. The levels of disease within a field will influence how to best manage that field to prevent disease epidemics in subsequent years. Since all disease systems are different, there is no commonly recommended practice that can be used to reduce the risk of disease for all crops and all disease systems. As a result, the biology of the organism and the disease cycle must be investigated in detail to identify the best disease management strategy. 

Over the course of the next year I will be writing an article every month, each focusing on current disease issues and highlighting a pathogen. The first article, released in November, will be used to set the stage and will focus on general pathology concepts, such as the difference between monocyclic and polycyclic diseases. Starting in December, the focus of the articles will be on pathogen biology, favourable conditions for disease development, disease identification and recommended management strategies. The articles can be found on the Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture’s Blog, Sask AG Now. The blog is also a good place to find other agriculture and crop-related articles throughout the year. 

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