Clubroot is often viewed as a Central Alberta problem, but the canola disease is spreading.

The Canola Council of Canada says the disease leads to swollen, deformed plant roots that restrict water and nutrient uptake, resulting in premature ripening or plant death.

Agronomy Specialist with the Canola Council of Canada, Dan Orchard, says in Alberta, clubroot's expanding at a rate of 30 kilometres per year.

"Don't wait until you see dead patches to go looking for clubroot. By then it's kind of like closing the barn door after the horse is out, so I think scouting diligently to find those symptoms before they appear above ground, and that's going to be a huge saviour."

Clubroot was found in a field southeast of Calgary back in September, which is the first year the disease had been confirmed in Rocky View County.clubroot canola council canada 001Clubroot photo courtesy of the Canola Council of Canada.

Orchard adds research shows the importance of crop rotations to prevent the disease.

"A two year break from canola and it seems 95, maybe even 99 per cent of the spores are not viable anymore. We didn't realize that, but there's been a few studies done now and they kind of agree with each other that a two year break is really, really valuable."

He says, it was originally thought spores lasted for 18 or 20 years, but now they know less than one per cent of spores live this long.

"We need that break to bring the spore load low enough that it's manageable enough going forward. Once you get a spore load in the millions and millions, that two years may not be enough, but for most of the prairies, a two year break is going to be sufficient to keep those spore loads low enough to manage."

For more scouting and management resources, you can visit clubroot.ca

 

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