Clubroot problem tackled

Clubroot is a serious disease that affects crops such as canola. Efforts to prevent its spreading continue.

Chris Clegg
South Peace News

The M.D. of Smoky River will not be letting its guard down when it comes to keeping its eye on the local clubroot problem.
Ag fieldman Shayne Steffen told council at its Feb. 9 meeting he had mailed 78 letters to area producers. Any landowner within 2,000 metres of the four affected properties received a notice.
In 2003, clubroot was identified in Alberta when an outbreak in canola crops occurred in the central area of the province near Edmonton. Clubroot is a soilborne disease. The infection causes the formation of large galls on the roots which look like clubs. The formations impede nutrient and water uptake and cause the plant to die, wiping out revenue. At first, 12 fields were identified but the number grew to over 400 by 2008. It has sporadically appeared in Alberta since.
Alberta officially declared clubroot a pest in 2007 in hopes of containing the disease.
Council heard the M.D. collects 50 random samples each year in its search for the disease. Once found, the M.D. deals with the landowner but cannot disclose the location publicly. One farmer wanted the rule changed and was told to contact council, said Steffen.
“It’s one of those things, we can’t bury our heads,” Steffen told council.
The M.D. does not take a heavy-handed approach with landowners but works together to solve the clubroot problem.
“It’s good to have those conversations,” said Steffen.
“It’s the right path forward.”
Wikipedia sources claim liming and crop rotation with non-host crops are effective control measures. It does not eradicate the disease but slows its development. Calcium and magnesium are also added to soil as an effective control.

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