Recently, the Government of Sask. released an updated clubroot distribution map for our province. This map outlines the rural municipalities in the province where clubroot has been identified.
The clubroot pathogen was first detected through the ministry’s canola disease survey in 2008, when one soil sample collected in west-central Saskatchewan was found to have the clubroot pathogen. Since 2017, visible symptoms of clubroot have been found in 51 commercial canola fields in Saskatchewan. In 2019, the clubroot pathogen was detected in five fields without visible symptoms.
The RM of Cote was one of the five municipalities with a positive soil sample in 2019. In 2018, the clubroot pathogen was found in soil samples from the RM of Keys and the RM of Sliding Hills and visible symptoms of clubroot were confirmed in the RM of Clayton.
Clubroot is a soil-borne disease that affects the roots of host plants which may include field crops such as canola, mustard, camelina, oilseed radish, taramira and a number of cruciferous vegetables.
Clubroot infection of host plant roots result in increases in cell size and cell number, resulting in a swollen or club-like appearance. These swollen and deformed roots have a reduced ability to absorb water and nutrients, leading to stunting, wilting, yellowing, premature ripening and shriveling of seeds. Clubroot affects the yield and quality of several crops and its impact depends on soil conditions and the growth stage of the crop when infection occurs. Early infection of seedlings tends to result in greater yield losses.
Infected roots will eventually disintegrate and release resting spores into the soil which may then be transported by wind, water erosion, animals/manure, shoes/clothing, vehicles/tires or earth tag on agricultural or industrial field equipment.
For RMs that border Manitoba, it is important to note that clubroot is prevalent in that province and should be taken into consideration when moving implements as an example.
Detection of a clubroot pathogen in a soil sample does not mean the disease is considered confirmed. The producer will be encouraged to implement proactive management strategies such as extended crop rotation, use of clubroot resistant varieties and strategies focused on minimizing soil movement. The objective is to minimize the impact of clubroot on canola yields by keeping pathogen levels low while also minimizing the movement of the infested soil to prevent the spread of clubroot and the pathogen. The pathogen population (spore numbers) in the soil will decline over time when non-host crops are grown but a small number can survive in the soil for up to 20 years.
If you farm in an area where clubroot has been detected or you are concerned about clubroot, here are a few suggestions: take action to minimize soil movement by knocking dirt off of equipment before you leave a field or washing equipment as you move between farms; extend your crop rotation to three years (take a two-year break from growing canola) in combination with using clubroot-resistant canola varieties on the years that you do plant canola, and actively scouting your canola crops to look for visible symptoms of clubroot by examining roots for the presence of swollen root tissue or galls.
For more information visit the Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture website at saskatchewan.ca/crops or see www.clubroot.ca. You may contact the Agriculture Knowledge Centre or visit your local regional office. Information may also be obtained at your R.M. office.