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Canadian Canola Industry Grappling with New Strain of Clubroot

Soil-borne clubroot has been present in Europe for hundreds of years, but was only been detected in Canada for the first time in 2003. Able to survive in soil for up to 20 years, clubroot is difficult to eradicate, however over the years, scientists have been able to develop clubroot resistant strains of canola.

Since 2003, it has spread across 30 Canadian municipalities, however, last year a University of Alberta researcher discovered a newer strain of the pathogen that has killed all of the industry’s resistant canola varieties on the market. So far the new strain has been confirmed in 16 fields in Alberta. Although regular clubroot has been detected in Saskatchewan and Manitoba, the new strain, which can be spread on the wind or through infected soil on farmers or machinery, has not yet reached these provinces.

Growers are being encouraged to clean and disinfect machinery before moving from one field to another and to extend crop rotations as ways to prevent the new clubroot from migrating into new growing regions, while researchers work diligently to develop new, stronger varieties of canola that can resist the new strain.

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