By Raul Avila A.Ag, M.Sc., Crop Production Intern, Crops and Irrigation Branch
Early detection of clubroot is important to keep spore levels low and reduce crop yield loss. Early detection of clubroot through DNA-based testing can help guide proactive on-farm disease management strategies. Laboratories can detect spore levels of 1,000 spores per gram, which is considered lower than what may cause disease symptoms under field conditions.
Clubroot is an emerging disease in Saskatchewan. This means that it is not present across the entire province and, when introduced, will initially be at low levels. To continue to better understand the distribution and severity of clubroot in Saskatchewan, the ministry and our partners will be conducting in-field monitoring.
This year, we're also ensuring farmers have the tools they need to detect clubroot on their farm at low levels through the 2020 fall clubroot soil testing program, offered by the Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture and SaskCanola. As part of this program, a producer can pick up a soil testing bag, collect soil from their field and submit it for testing at no cost. All producer information will be kept confidential, and the legal land location will be shared with the appropriate rural municipality (RM) only when a positive test result is returned and a clubroot bylaw has been enacted. All findings of clubroot and the clubroot pathogen will be added to the Saskatchewan Clubroot Distribution map (at an RM level) to raise awareness of the presence of clubroot and to guide proactive biosecurity and management decisions. Because of the value that these test results will provide other farmers and the industry, SaskCanola will cover the $100 cost of each test.
How to Get A Soil Test
There are different ways that you can get your soil test:
Agronomists who would like to receive a bundle of soil testing bags should contact SaskCanola.
When to Sample
Soil samples should be collected in late summer or around swathing time. This is when clubroot galls start decomposing and releasing spores back to the soil.
Where to Sample
To reduce the risk of a false negative, it is important to collect soil from high clubroot risk areas. These areas include field entrances, high-traffic areas, water runs and low spots.
Submitting the Sample
Soil samples can be dropped off at your local Ministry of Agriculture regional office or at Discovery Seed Labs (Saskatoon). Make sure that the information form on the sample bag is completely filled out.
Getting the Results
The results will be available in early winter, and a ministry staff member will contact you via email or phone with your results. Please be aware that the results will be kept confidential and will only be shared with the appropriate RM office if the test is positive for clubroot and if the RM has a clubroot-specific bylaw enacted.
For More Information
Please contact your Crop Extension Specialist or call the Agriculture Knowledge Centre’s general inquiry line toll-free at 1-866-457-2377.