What Is Clubroot?
It is a serious soil-borne disease that affects canola, mustard and other crops in the cabbage family. It is caused by a soil born plant pathogen called Plasmordiophora brassicae. This pathogen is a Protist which is a group of organisms with the characteristics of plants, fungi and protozoans. Clubroot is a big concern in our area because most varieties of canola and mustard are susceptible to it. If crops become infected with clubroot it will significantly reduce their yield potential or destroy the entire crop. The resting spores of this organism are extremely long lived meaning they can survive in soil for up to 20 years. The disease is generally spread primarily through infected soil that is transported via farm machinery, wind erosion and water erosion. This is why it is very important to sanitize equipment in between fields.
Best Management Practices for Infected Fields
- Use clubroot resistant varieties of canola.
- Use long rotations of at least three years or more between canola crops.
- Control all volunteer canola and other cruciferous weeds in infested fields to prevent more than three weeks of growth in order to provide production of new resting spores.
- Practice good sanitation of machinery and equipment to prevent movement of contaminated soil.
- Use direct seeding and other soil conservation practices to reduce soil erosion from contaminated fields.
- Minimize vehicle traffic to and from fields.
- Scout fields regularly, look for wilting, stunting and premature ripening.
- Avoid using straw, hay or greenfeed, silage and manure from infested areas.
What is the County of Newell doing about it?
In 2007 Clubroot was detected in a canola field within the County of Newell. Since then we have discovered a total of three fields that are infected within the County. Since 2007 we have created a program to monitor the canola fields within our County. Every year trained seasonal staff, Weed Inspectors and County Fieldman visually inspect every Canola field within the County under the parameters and guidelines set out by the Alberta Clubroot Management Plan. Any suspect plants are pulled out and sent away for analysis.
The County also works in conjunction with local oil and gas companies to provide information and assistance with proper equipment sanitizing between fields.
More information on this disease and on the Alberta Clubroot Management Plan can be found at: