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Watch for #skcroplab Updates this Season from the Crop Protection Lab

By: Faye Dokken-Bouchard, PAg, Manager, Crop Protection Lab

The Crop Protection Lab is open year-round to provide diagnostic
services to help growers identify and deal with pests that affect production. 
The Crop Protection Lab is currently wrapping up the herbicide resistance testing for 2016 and gearing up for another season of diagnostics. In the summer months we focus on plant disease diagnostics, weed/plant and insect identification, and Dutch elm disease (DED) testing. From fall to spring we continue to offer diagnostics, and the lab also keeps a steady pace with survey samples and herbicide resistance testing. We currently have one permanent technician, Tracey Sliva, and one vacant technician position, as well as a summer Laboratory Admin Assistant, Mackenzie Hladun, and a summer Dutch Elm Disease Technician, Alicia Mah. As the season progresses, we will provide updates through Crop Production News as well as the Ministry’s Twitter, @SKAgriculture, using the hashtag #skcroplab.

Last year, we were kept most busy with plant disease samples; the common diagnoses were herbicide damage (65 samples) and root rot (63 samples). Of the root rot samples, 37 were pulses that “included an oomycete” (oospores were observed in the roots but required further testing not currently available at CPL to differentiate Aphanomyces or Pythium). At the end of the season, 30 samples were sent to Syama Chatterton with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada for polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing. She found that all of them were positive for Aphanomyces and some were also positive for one or both Pythium species tested. We will continue to offer comprehensive visual assessment of root rots this season as we explore the potential for other testing options. For more information on root rots, see the Root Rot in Peas and Lentils in Western Canada fact sheet.

Types of Samples Processed at CPL
2016-17 Samples

Plant Disease Diagnosis - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 262

Weed ID- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 33

Insect ID- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -13

Dutch Elm Disease Testing- - - - - - - - - - - - -213

Clubroot Survey- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 127

Fusarium head blight Survey- - - - - - - - - - - 192

Herbicide Resistance Testing- - - - - - - - - - - 267

Grand Total of Client and Survey Samples- 1108


Not surprisingly, the Fusarium head blight survey kept the lab busy this year, with more than 80 per cent of the samples infected with the disease. More than 1,700 “isolates” of Fusarium were identified through plating, which confirmed that F. graminearum was present in more than 50 per cent of the fields surveyed.

While the deadline has passed for herbicide resistance testing for 2016, now is the time to start thinking about best management practices for weed control and to keep an eye on stubborn patches. That being said, keep in mind that herbicide resistance testing can be conducted on ripe seed only. Therefore, samples need not be collected until later this season. Testing will not begin until January 2018. Stay tuned to Crop Production News for more updates on the 2016 herbicide testing results, once all of the testing wraps up.

For information on submitting samples and our updated submission forms, see:


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