Mitigating the spread of clubroot

Calgary (Rural Roots Canada) As planting starts to get underway; canola producers are mindful of a growing disease.

Canola producers are dealing with the spread of clubroot, which has intensified over the past decade to become a persistent, prairie-wide problem.

Corteva Agriscience North America Canola Breeding Lead Chad Koscielny says farmers should try as much as possible to avoid moving soil from one field to the next when they are seeding.

“It is a lot easier said than done, and that’s one where I have felt for growers because disinfecting a 60-foot air drill is not always the easiest of practices,” Koscielny said.

“Knocking off the big clumps and trying to minimize that soil movement is important, but you can only do so much, and I completely understand that.”

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Koscielny says scouting can also help with this.

“Most of the time it gets discovered in patches, (at) field entrances or low-lying areas of the field where it has been transported through waterways oftentimes.

He says if the scouting takes place early, then you can plan to minimize soil movement and potentially treat certain patches slightly differently as it is needed.

“Maybe it’s something that goes down to a perennial or something like that in certain areas of the field to minimize the spread from those patches because I would say that is a much easier task for a grower to do than it would be to clean out every piece of equipment going from every field during a practice such as seeding.”

He adds having a 1 in 3 crop rotation, planting clubroot resistant hybrids, and making sure weeds and volunteer canola are being controlled are also vital.

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Koscielny says farmers ask them quite regularly if they should plant clubroot resistant hybrids if there has been no sign of it in previous years.

“There’s no harm in growing clubroot resistant genetics if you don’t have the pathogen, there’s no selection pressure against those resistance mechanisms, you can deploy it and be confident product performance-wise.”

He says at Corteva they haven’t seen any product performance issues.

“We’ve actually seen, in certain circumstances, a yield bump when we have added in some of our clubroot resistance genetics.”