Manitoba no longer clubroot-free

MAFRI advises best management practices for disease prevention

Clubroot galls on a canola plant. (Canola Council of Canada)

Tests on two unrelated canola fields in Manitoba in August and September have confirmed clubroot on both samples, Manitoba’s agriculture department said Thursday.

“Due to these results, the department says Manitoba can no longer be considered free of clubroot disease,” the department said in a special bulletin.

The discovery of clubroot symptoms in Manitoba had been considered likely, as clubroot DNA had been confirmed previously in soil samples unrelated to these fields, the province said. With awareness of the potential for development in Manitoba, growers and industry members have been monitoring canola more closely for signs of the disease.

The ag department reminded farmers to follow best management and disease prevention practices as they prepare for the 2014 crop year. The department said it plans to host workshops to discuss reduction of pest movement and biosecurity for crop producers.

Proper equipment cleaning, specifically to reduce the movement of soil on field equipment, is key to reducing the risk of spreading clubroot, a soil-borne disease. The use of clubroot-resistant crop varieties, proper crop rotation and good weed management of alternate hosts will help prevent heavier infestations from developing within a field where a disease may already be present at undetected levels, the province said.

Clubroot can cause economic yield losses in host crops including canola. The disease survives in soil as hardy, resting spores, with a half-life of four years, but has the capacity to survive up to 20 years.

Once established in a field, clubroot requires long-term management.

The agriculture department, working with the Manitoba Canola Growers Association and Canola Council of Canada, is developing information for producer. Growers looking for more information can contact Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives’ Crops Knowledge Centre at 204-745-5630.

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