Blackleg risks, management, and a yield loss calculator

There’s this thing about nature — it adapts. Many canola growers are getting a real taste of this in recent years by a slow but steady resurgence of blackleg showing up and stealing yield. For those who think, “hey, we have genetic resistance, didn’t we deal with this already?” read and listen on.

Record canola acres, tight rotations, and time have all combined to lead to this pathogen overcoming varietal resistance. Diseases will always adapt, and Western Canada’s farmers have enjoyed a good run of having resistant varieties offer enough protection.

Colleen Redlick, customer service specialist with BASF Canada, took the time at Saskatoon’s Crop Production Show to sit down with Shaun Haney to talk blackleg scouting, management, and BASF’s handy new yield loss calculator.

The BASF blackleg yield loss calculator

From how to gauge incidence and severity, to how many bushels per acre you’re likely losing, Redlick explains how to use the calculator and offers some tips on how you can manage for the disease in 2018.

Didn’t scout in 2017? Here’s the tricky part: blackleg infection happens very early in the plant’s life cycle, and suppression options work best at the 2-leaf stage. You’re looking for light lesions and black pycnidia. To the untrained eye, it can be tough to find. Redlick says it’s a reminder to add blackleg scouting to the list for this year, and cautions farmers not to only think of 2017 (a dry year) as a gauge for their risk —2016’s hangover could be a factor if you’re seeding canola on that land this year.

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