The Fieldman’s Files – Clubroot update

Normand Boulet and Sheila Kaus

Agricultural Fieldmen for M.D. of Smoky River and Big Lakes County


It has been only a few weeks since a positive Clubroot sample was found in Big Lakes County. This was the first Clubroot positive field in the Peace Region and in response to this the Smoky Applied Research and Demonstration Association (SARDA Ag Research) held a Clubroot information workshop at the Guy Community Centre on August 31. Approximately 100 people were in attendance; farmers, agronomists, Agricultural Fieldmen and Pest Inspectors from all over the Peace.

It’s impossible to cover two hours of information in a short article- best we can do is sum up what Dr. Michael Harding, Pathologist with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry, Gregory Sekulic, area Canola Council of Canada Agronomist and Normand Boulet, Agricultural Fieldman with the M.D. of Smoky River had to say.

Dr. Harding covered the following topics, and we are just trying to hit the high points here:

  • Disease History and spread in Alberta – first noticed in market garden situations in the 1970’s, first found in Alberta Canola fields in 2003, now 32 municipalities with positive Clubroot fields
  • Pathology (how disease happens) – diseases require three things, the pathogen, host and proper environment. Clubroot is an obligate parasite, it needs brassica family plants to complete its lifecycle. When it senses root exudates from those plants (canola, mustard, stinkweed, shepherd’s purse…) the resting spore “germinates”, swims to the plant root, causes a primary infection, multiplies and then a secondary infection invades other parts of the plant and other nearby plants, taking over plant cells, multiplying and forming large galls which stop the flow of nutrients to the plant causing it to wilt, prematurely ripen and die
  • Symptoms, Scouting and Identification – plants will initially wilt, losing leaves and ripen/die prematurely, upon digging up the plant roots a person might find massive galls in a severe infection level fields, to very miniscule galls in fields where spore levels are low
  • Introduction to management principles: Crop rotation – (three or four years out of canola) to reduce spore loads in the soil, Clubroot resistant cultivars – to further reduce spore buildup, weed/volunteer control – to ensure no hosts for Clubroot to live on, biosecurity & sanitization – preventing introduction is the most important management tool, cleaning equipment before it arrives at your field, or before it leaves an infected field


Continued next week

Share this post