Ontario canola yields grow, and with it the threat of spreading clubroot

Last year was a good year for growing canola in Ontario, with the best average yields the province has had.

That’s despite growing concern about managing clubroot in the province.

It was testing during the 2016 growing season that established the prevalence of clubroot in the province, after some clinical signs of the disease showed up.

The disease is yet to limit yield on an aggregate across the province, and that gives farmers the chance to manage it before it gets more established, says Meghan Moran, canola specialist with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.

The six farmers who contacted her with problems in 2017 usually had positive tests for clubroot spores in other fields.

Have clubroot spores been detected in your neighbourhood? Here are the provincial hotspots from two years of testing.
photo: Courtesy Megan Moran, OMAFRA

They shouldn’t have been surprised to find that they had multiple infected fields.

“As a farmer, if you move equipment field to field, if have it in one field, you likely have it in all your fields,” she said. “It makes you nervous with the amount of custom work done in Ontario.”

Shawn Schill grows 500 to 1,500 acres of canola, depending on the year, at his farms in the Arthur and New Liskeard areas.

“It’s a great crop for improving soil health and organic matter,” he says. The early harvested crop means he can get wheat in earlier, leading to higher yields. White mould can be an issue in fields that also are white mould risks in soybeans.

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They’ve found no clubroot in their fields in the Arthur area, but testing has shown spores in the New Liskeard area.

There are strategies to use to manage clubroot risk in canola fields.

About the author

Editor

John Greig has spent his career in agriculture journalism and communications. He lives on a farm near Ailsa Craig, Ontario. Contact John at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @jgreig

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