Research projects aim to tackle emergence of new crop disease in North

By Nigel Maxwell
January 21, 2018 - 11:00am Updated: January 21, 2018 - 12:58pm

The emergence of Clubroot last year in north-central and northwestern Saskatchewan is cause for concern for growers across the province, but some new research projects may help get to the root of the problem.
As part of its annual research funding commitments, the Saskatchewan Canola Development Commission committed $1.5 million dollars to support 10 new research projects, funded under the Saskatchewan Agriculture Development Fund (ADF). At least three of the projects will focus directly on the soil born disease that stops moisture and nutrients from entering the plant, eventually killing it.
Errin Willenborg, the Research Manager with SaskCanola, said one of the prominent research projects relates directly to simply discovering more about Clubroot.
"We're involved with many different Clubroot related projects but this one in particular at Ag Canada, here in Saskatoon, is going to help us understand the different pathotypes," she said.
Willenborg said the research project will essentially help monitor changes to pathotypes over time and help find a quick way to test for new resistance.
Currently, there are no ways to remove Clubroot from a field once it has become infested. However, it is possible to slow the spread and reduce the severity of the disease.
In addition to the research commitments funded under the ADF, SaskCanola has also invested $1.25 million towards canola specific agronomy research projects through the Canola Agronomic Research Program. 
"These are canola specific agronomy projects that have benefit to Saskatchewan but often times these projects will be of benefit across Western Canada," Willenborg said.
Two of those projects will also apply directly to Clubroot and Canola midge. Willenborg said in the case of Canola Midge, which has been popping up in Northeast Saskatchewan, researchers want to get a good understanding of where the plant is and how it is distributed across Western Canada.
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