Clean your farm machinery to reduce risk of clubroot infestation, says advocate

Pictured above, a canola plant infected by clubroot.

Mac Olsen

Canola growers can reduce the risk of contaminating their fields with clubroot by washing their machinery.

Knocking clumps off machinery between fields takes 10 to 15 minutes. Only wash and disinfect machinery for high risk situations, which takes four to six hours.

Clean only in high-risk situations, such as when you have only one field at risk of clubroot infestation, or purchasing used farm machinery from the Edmonton area. Also, use minimum tillage in your fields.

These are some of the suggestions Clinton Jurke discussed during a meeting on the subject at the Centre Chevaliers in Falher on Nov. 22. Jurke is an agronomy director with the Canola Council of Canada in Lloydminster, Saskatchewan.

We need to take proactive steps to manage this disease,” says Jurke.

The presence of clubroot was confirmed in Sturgeon County in 2003, and he showed a map of its progression in Alberta.

He also noted that testing for clubroot was done in Manitoba between 2009 and 2016, and 10-15 per cent of the fields are positive for it.

Jurke also gave insights into the behaviour and cycle of clubroot spores. For instance, clubroot hijack’s the canola plant’s root cells and turns them into resting spore factories. A billion spores are enough to infest an entire acre, and infestation can range from low to extremely high levels.

Crop rotation, alone, will not get rid of clubroot, as spores can travel high in the air, especially with clouds of dust, he adds.

A three-year crop rotation will be as effective as a four-year rotation in dealing with clubroot resting spores. But crop rotation does not prevent the disease from establishing itself in the fields, it will only slow it down.

Jurke also says you must also control other issues like stinkweed and wild mustard to reduce the risk of spore growth and spread.

Clubroot-resistant varieties of canola seed can help, however. Jurke showed a slide with varieties offered by seed companies, and he encourages producers to use them.

Growing a resistant variety is ideal,” says Jurke.

If you find clubroot near the approach to a field, he offers this: grass in around the patch and fence it off. Alternatively, establish a new approach, followed by a sanitation zone just off it.

For more information, contact Jurke at (306) 821-2936 or via email at He can also be contacted on Twitter, @JurkeCCC. Alternatively, go to the Canola Council of Canada’s website at


Clinton Jurke is an agronomy director with the Canola Council of Canada in Lloydminster, Saskatchewan. Jurke made a presentation about clubroot at the Centre Chevaliers in Falher on Nov. 22.

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