By Raul Avila, AAg, M.Sc, Plant Health Technician, Crop Protection Lab and
Alireza Akhavan, AAg, PhD, Plant Disease Specialist, Crops and Irrigation Branch
In 2020, the Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture partnered with SaskCanola, Saskatchewan Crop Insurance Corporation and Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities to conduct the clubroot monitoring program, which helps to understand the spread and severity of clubroot in Saskatchewan. Previous clubroot surveys provided an estimation of the distribution of clubroot across the canola-growing areas of the province.
The 2020 clubroot monitoring program was a four-pronged approach that included:
- Clubroot-specific survey in high-risk clubroot areas;
- General canola disease survey across the province;
- On-farm testing; and
- Encouraging increased external reporting from producers and agrologists.
The 2020 clubroot monitoring program in-field surveillance component included 735 fields and, as part of the on-farm testing, 231 soil samples were submitted from producers and agrologists for DNA testing. Nine reports were also received from producers and agrologists. This collectively confirmed visible symptoms in 18 new commercial fields, and the clubroot pathogen (with no-visible symptoms) was also detected in another 18 fields. Since 2008, in total, visible symptoms of clubroot have been confirmed in 75 commercial canola fields in Saskatchewan, while the clubroot pathogen DNA has been detected in an additional 29 fields. The results of the clubroot monitoring program were used to update the clubroot distribution map and show that clubroot symptoms and the pathogen are located in the northern and central regions, as well as now in the southwestern area of the province.
Increased understanding of the severity and distribution of clubroot will be used to raise awareness and encourage proactive and science-based clubroot management. The clubroot distribution map provides information about the general location and presence of clubroot symptoms or the pathogen in each rural municipality, which can be used to estimate regional clubroot risk. It is important to understand that clubroot may be present in other rural municipalities where it has not been found yet.
The key to clubroot mitigation is to start implementing practices early and keep spore levels low when symptoms are not present in canola crops. It is more difficult to reduce spore levels when clubroot symptoms are present. Some strategies include minimizing soil movement, crop rotation with a minimum of a three-year rotation, using a clubroot resistant variety, controlling canola volunteers and clubroot-susceptible weeds and monitoring all canola crops for clubroot symptoms.
Contact the Ministry of Agriculture if clubroot is found. This will help ensure the clubroot distribution map accurately reflects the presence of clubroot in the province. All reports are managed confidentially, and the legal land description will only be shared with the appropriate rural municipality if it has a clubroot-specific bylaw.
For more information on clubroot, please visit the Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture's Clubroot of Canola webpages or contact the Agriculture Knowledge Centre at 1-866-457-2377.