Manitoba has its first two cases of confirmed clubroot symptoms on canola — prior to now, only viable spores had been found in Manitoba soil. The provincial government announced yesterday that two unrelated fields have tested positive for this destructive disease. There is no mention of where the fields are located, but earlier this summer a plant pathologist with the province cautioned that farmers shouldn’t feel geography is a means of avoidance. This disease can spread quickly and far too easily, as evidenced by its rapid move over Alberta.
If, as a Manitoba farmer, you didn’t spend much time thinking of clubroot, that honeymoon phase is over. If you were on any canola field tours this year, you’ll have heard how important it is to scout your canola at swath timing and determine exactly what killed your canola.
While, yes, there are some tolerant varieties available, this is not a disease that can be fully controlled or eradicated. What’s more, without sanitation between fields, even a few clods of soil can infect every new field they come in contact with.
Scout, scout, scout, and, please wash equipment before it hits the field — especially if you’ve bought it from another province.
In short, for all the times you’ve heard to stay watchful for clubroot — we’ll say it again. Watch field margins first, as it is soil-borne and likely arrives via equipment, boots or truck tires. Scout your canola stubble and don’t just furrow your brow at dead patches. Find out if it’s blackleg, sclerotinia or something else, because that something else could be clubroot.
I, for one, have spent the summer wearing far more booties than I ever used to. I trudge all over Manitoba fields and have become acutely aware of the amount of mud I carry on my boots, tires and tripod. I promise to do my part, if you promise to do yours. Scout, scout, scout, and, please wash equipment before it hits the field — especially if you’ve bought it from another province.
Still not convinced at the seriousness of this? The Canola Council of Canada has produced this video that every single canola grower should watch. Please do.