By Carlie Bowditch Agrology Student, Tisdale
Clubroot is a soil borne disease that infects brassica species such as canola, mustard, camelina, oilseed radish and weeds such as stinkweed, shepherd’s purse, wild mustard and flixweed. The disease creates swollen or club-like gals on the roots of infected plants. The swollen roots lose their ability to uptake nutrients and water, which leads to wilting, yellowing, premature ripening and shriveled seeds. Saskatchewan is lucky to have identified the presence of clubroot early. Proactive management can help to prevent introduction of clubroot into new fields and will help keep spore level lows.
The Ministry of Agriculture, with support from SaskCanola and the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities (SARM), is conducting an intensive clubroot survey in the province of Saskatchewan starting in mid-August 2018. The purpose of the survey is to increase our understanding of the distribution and severity of clubroot in Saskatchewan.
The results of the survey will be used to raise awareness of clubroot in Saskatchewan through the development of a clubroot distribution map. Only the general location of clubroot infested fields will be shared publicly. Specific field locations will be used to notify the landowner and/or producer and will be shared with the appropriate rural municipality. A total of 1800 fields across the highest clubroot risk region will be randomly selected with one field located in each township. The survey area will include the northern agricultural region and a large area along the east side of the province. In each field, plants will be uprooted and examined for clubroot symptoms. Soil samples from the field entrance will also be collected for DNA-based testing to detect the pathogen at low levels.
For a field to be confirmed to have clubroot, visible symptoms of the disease must be present. If the clubroot pathogen is detected in the soil but visible symptoms are not present in the field, the disease will not be considered confirmed.
The Ministry is committed to a farmer-driven approach to clubroot management. As part of this approach, when clubroot is confirmed the producer will work with an agrologist registered with the Saskatchewan Institute of Agrologists (SIA) to develop a clubroot management agreement for the clubroot infested field. If the clubroot agreement meets the minimum requirements listed in The Saskatchewan Clubroot Management Plan, it will become the formal agreement between the landowner and/or producer and the pest control officer.
Clubroot risk can be lowered by preventing the introduction of the pathogen. Clubroot is spread through soil movement. Knocking off soil from equipment before moving fields can decrease the likelihood of clubroot infection by approximately 90 per cent if 90 per cent of the soil is removed.
When the clubroot pathogen is present, the disease can be managed by implementing proactive management strategies such as extended crop rotations and the use of clubroot resistant varieties to reduce pathogen levels and minimize yield losses. Clubroot is best managed when detected early. Producers are encouraged to scout their canola fields for clubroot symptoms.
For more information contact the Agriculture Knowledge Centre at 1-866-457-2377.