Clubroot has been found in a canola field southeast of Calgary.

The crop disease is caused by a soil-borne pathogen which has more commonly been seen in Central and Northern Alberta canola fields.

The Canola Council of Canada says, the disease leads to swollen, deformed plant roots that restrict water and nutrient uptake, resulting in premature ripening or plant death.

The Council's Southern Alberta Agronomy Specialist, Autumn Barnes, says they knew clubroot was coming to the south at some point, but she was surprised at how advanced it was.

"The infestation in this field was quite severe. Much of the field was affected and the galls that are present in the field right now are fairly massive. It's not limited to small patches in the field, it's quite widespread."

This is the first year the disease has been confirmed in Rocky View County.

Barnes says, the farmer had been swathing and noticed something in the field didn't look right.

"If that grower hadn't gotten out, or hadn't encouraged somebody to go out and pull plants, it's possible they could've missed it this year. Not every big clubroot infestation equates to lower biomass above ground, so it is easy for growers to miss it."

She notes, when the crop disease is found in a new area, it's never just in one field.

"Scouting is the number one thing we want growers to be doing right now, and also growers are thinking about booking seed for 2019. They should be thinking about using a clubroot resistant variety, so that we can minimize spore loads. Chances are the spores are going to be present across Southern Alberta."

For more information about the disease and links to resources from the Council, you can visit their website.


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