A serious disease that affects canola crops has returned to Saskatchewan — and the Ministry of Agriculture is trying to tackle the problem before it gets worse.
Last year, parts of the province saw multiple confirmed cases of clubroot, and unfortunately that wasn’t the last of it.
“It survives in the soil and causes disease of the root below ground,” Ziesman said. “It is a disease that can cause up to 50 per cent yield loss or even higher under severe conditions.”
While the disease primarily affects canola and mustard crops, it’s also found in vegetables like cabbage, broccoli and brussel sprouts.
This isn’t the first time clubroot has shown up in the province — Saskatchewan also saw confirmed cases in 2008, 2011 and 2012.
“We are having to be cognizant, encouraging producers to actually go out and check their fields so we can have a better idea of where it is,” Ziesman said.
Neighbouring provinces like Manitoba have been dealing with clubroot for years, and in Alberta, cases of the disease have increased from 12 fields to 2,700 fields over the last 15 years.
With 23,000 canola producers in Saskatchewan, it’s something SaskCanola is monitoring closely.
“Canola producers need to be cognizant that it’s there,” said Janice Tranberg, executive director of SaskCanola.
“We’re encouraging them to work with the ministry and their agrologist to do the best management practices.”
To get a better idea of the severity of the situation, the Ministry of Agriculture is conducting a survey, targeting fields in the northern agricultural region along the east side of the province.
“That’s based on where we know where it’s occurring in neighbouring provinces, but also where the environmental conditions favour,” Ziesman said.
Because the disease is easily spread through soil transfer, the ministry is encouraging all farmers to check their fields regularly.