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Clubroot Prevention Practices That Will Be the Ace Up Your Sleeve

By Brett Rumpel, BSc, Summer Student, Raul Avila, MSc, PAg, Provincial Specialist-Pest Regulatory and Alireza Akhavan, PhD, AAg, Provincial Specialist-Plant Disease, Crops and Irrigation Branch, Regina

June 2022

Clubroot (Plasmodiophora brassicae) is a soil-borne disease that infects Brassica spp. crops such as canola and mustard. Clubroot infections can inhibit the growth and development of the plant by forming galls on the roots, which reduces the plant’s ability to obtain water and nutrients from the soil. If clubroot is allowed to spread, there is potential for significant yield loss.

Premature ripening of canola caused by clubroot

One of the most important practices in managing clubroot is to prevent or limit the disease’s presence in the field. As clubroot spores can potentially survive for up to 20 years, it is vital to minimize the risk that they arrive in the field in the first place.

Here are a few simple proactive practices that you can adopt to reduce the risk of the introduction or spread of clubroot to new areas:

  • Create a clear biosecurity protocol for your operation to share with any visitors and prevents soil movement.
  • Clean and sanitize equipment between fields. Removing as much soil as possible is important to limit the potential spread of clubroot spores, which will help ensure your fields can remain clubroot free. By removing 90 per cent of soil from entering the field, you are reducing your risk of clubroot introduction by 90 per cent.
  • Ensure that any new or rented equipment is sanitized with a 2 per cent sodium hypochlorite (bleach) solution before using it.
  • Avoid working in wet or muddy conditions to prevent high volumes of spore movement.
  • Collect soil samples from your agriculture operation, particularly in high-risk areas. This includes including main entrances, low spots, water run and high-traffic areas.
  • In the summer and fall of 2022, the Ministry of Agriculture and SaskCanola will again be offering free soil testing kits to those interested in knowing if clubroot is present on their land.
  • SaskCanola will cover the cost of the soil testing and results will be kept confidential and will only be shared with the submitting producer/agrologist.
  • Extend crop rotations to a two-year minimum break from canola and grow clubroot resistant varieties, regardless of whether clubroot is confirmed in the area
  • Control canola volunteers germinated from last year’s crops and Brassica spp. weeds.
  • Use soil conservation practices that prevent spore movement and soil erosion, such as direct seeding and no-till.
  • Regularly and carefully scout crops. Early detection is key for clubroot management.

For more information, contact your regional crops extension specialist, contact the Agriculture Knowledge Centre at 1-866-457-2377 or visit our ministry website and search “clubroot.”

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