Mitigating the spread of crop diseases during harvest

As farmers rush to get the harvest done there are a few things to remember to mitigate the spread of crop diseases.

Clinton Jurke is the Agronomy Director with the Canola Council of Canada.

He says with this year’s harvest being a wet one, the likelihood of moving soil from one field to another is more probable.

“For us in the canola world, the concern is clubroot, clubroot moves with soil,” said Jurke. “There is certainly this risk of moving this pathogen along with the soil and it’s really tough, we can’t expect that the grain carts, the combines and every trucker is properly sanitized coming out of the field, that certainly isn’t possible for every single load.”

However, he says if producers could start finding those opportunities to limit the movement of soil that is traveling on those wheels coming out of the field that would be a good thing in limiting the movement of this disease.

Jurke says it is important this year to remember these measures as there have been more reported cases of clubroot in some counties.

“Producers in those counties should be thinking, alright am I exposing myself to risk?, do I have any contractors that are coming on to my land that may be moving it?, is there anyone that is outside of the agricultural industry that might be touching my soil and potentially moving it?, are the inputs that I’m bringing to my farm operation potentially moving the soil and those things should be considered and evaluated?

Jurke says it reminds him of a talk he had with a farmer earlier this year.

“I asked him, have you had any farm machinery in your field that isn’t yours and he said, no I don’t thinks so, however over the half-hour conversation, we listed at least 10 opportunities where there was other machinery in the field.”

Jurke says this is where farmers need to think for a few minutes and ask if there has been rented equipment, other contractors, or neighbours, hunters, quadders, all that could potentially be moving this pathogen.