Thriving in wet, soggy soils (and thus seldom acknowledged as a problem-pathogen in Canada), aphanomyces is difficult to differentiate from other root rot microorganisms based on symptomology alone. Molecular techniques and identification of spores in the lab are the best means of identification, and as of right now, there is no commercial test available for producers.
So, why should we care? Last year’s soggy season in much of Saskatchewan had some farmers wondering what was affecting the pea crop. Turns out is was aphanomyces. Aphanomyces is serious because there is no chemical method for control of the pathogen (crop rotation is highly recommended), and if growing conditions continue to favour its survival, we could have a serious issue in our soils.
This episode of Pulse School provides an introduction to the root rot pathogen, aphanomyces, by Sabine Banniza, professor of plant pathology at the University of Saskatchewan. In this interview, Banniza outlines where the pathogen came from, why we’ve seen it in pea crops now and what farmers need to keep an eye on.
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