Clubroot Disease

About Clubroot

Clubroot is a serious soil-borne disease of cruciferous plants, such as canola. In canola, it causes swellings or galls to form on the roots, which ultimately causes premature death of the plant. It is caused by a fungus-link protist called Plasmodiophora brassicae.

The Provincial Plant Disease Specialist and a Crops Extension Specialist with Saskatchewan Agriculture walk you through how to scout for clubroot in your canola fields.

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The key to clubroot management is to keep spore levels as low as possible.

To do this, clubroot needs to be managed through an integrated approach. In any field, clubroot management will be effective in minimizing the spread and severity of clubroot.

Further clubroot management strategies are advisable when spore levels are high or when you feel a higher level of caution is warranted.

Clubroot Best Management Practices

    Prevent the spread of clubroot in soil
    • in fields where clubroot has not been confirmed: rough clean equipment to remove soil before leaving each field
    • in fields where clubroot has been confirmed: completely remove all soil and sanitize equipment before leaving each field
    • do fieldwork in clubroot-infested fields last
    • ensure clubroot-positive fields have separate entrance and exit, with a grass patch at the exit for equipment cleaning
  1. Crop rotation and weed control
    • Use a minimum 3-year rotation
    • Control canola volunteers and clubroot-susceptible weeds
  2. Variety selection
    • Ensure early development of clubroot-resistant varieties in extended crop rotations
  3. Monitoring
    • monitor all canola crops, including clubroot resistant varieties for visible symptoms
    • conduct clubroot soil tests to monitor spore level changes; soil should be collected from the same location and at the same time of year
  4. Contain clubroot infested areas
    • seed clubroot infested areas to a sod-forming grass
    • if patch is small, consider pulling and disposing of infected plants
    • treat clubroot infested area with lime to increase pH

This video focuses on key management strategies to minimize the risk of introducing the disease-causing pathogen to your farm, slowing the spread of it within your farm if it arrives, and using a multi-pronged approach to reduce the impact from it once the pathogen has been established. Video funded by the AB, SK, and MB canola grower groups.

Developed by the Saskatchewan Clubroot Initiative – last updated August 2019

Monitoring Clubroot in Saskatchewan

This year, we’re ensuring that growers have the tools they need to detect clubroot on their farm at low levels through the 2020 fall clubroot soil testing program, offered by SaskCanola and the Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture. As part of this program, a grower can request a soil sampling bag, collect soil from their field and submit it for testing at no cost. Results will be kept confidential and will only be shared with the rural municipality if they have enacted a clubroot bylaw. All findings of clubroot and the clubroot pathogen will be added to the Saskatchewan Clubroot Distribution map (at an RM level) to raise awareness of the presence of clubroot and to guide proactive biosecurity and management decisions. Because of the value that these test results will provide growers and the industry, SaskCanola will cover the $100 cost of each test.

How to Get a Clubroot Soil Test
There are different ways that you can request a soil test:
- Sign up online and Sask Agriculture will send a soil testing bag to you
- Contact the SaskCanola office
- Contact your local SARM Plant Health Officer; or
- Contact your local Ministry of Agriculture Regional office
*Agronomists who would like to have a bundle of soil testing bags on-hand for clients, should contact SaskCanola.

When to Sample
Soil samples should be collected in late summer or around swathing time. This is when clubroot galls start decomposing and releasing spores back to the soil.

Where to Sample
To reduce the risk of a false negative, it is important to collect soil from high clubroot risk areas. These areas include field entrances, high-traffic areas, water runs and low spots.

Submitting the Sample
Soil samples can be dropped off at your local Ministry of Agriculture regional office or at Discovery Seed Labs (Saskatoon). Make sure that the information form on the sample bag is completely filled out.

Getting the Results
The results will be available in early winter, and a ministry staff member will contact you via email or phone with your results. Please be aware that the results will be kept confidential and will only be shared with the appropriate RM office if the test is positive for clubroot and if the RM has a clubroot-specific bylaw enacted.

For More Information
Please contact your Crop Extension Specialist or call the Agriculture Knowledge Centre’s general inquiry line toll-free at 1-866-457-2377.

Reporting a Clubroot Field in Saskatchewan

Reporting clubroot infestation early provides valuable information and plays a useful role for mapping infested fields in Saskatchewan. Both growers and field agrologists can help identify the distribution and severity of clubroot in the province.

Monitoring and mapping the spread of clubroot is key to successful adoption of proactive on-farm management. The clubroot monitoring program includes ministry surveys, volunteer soil testing and external reporting. The key to managing clubroot is to keep spore levels as low as possible to minimize yield losses. The program is used to update the Saskatchewan Clubroot Distribution Map.

Whom do I report clubroot to?
All clubroot reporting will be managed in confidence by the Ministry of Agriculture. To report clubroot, contact any of the following:
- Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture, either the Agriculture Knowledge Centre (866) 457-2377 or by emailing the Plant Disease Specialist
- Miki Miheguli, SaskCanola Research Extension Specialist, by calling (306) 975-0273 or click here to email her
- Your local SARM Plant Health Officer; or
- Saskatchewan Crop Insurance Corporation at (888) 935-0000 or by email

What information to include when reporting clubroot
When report clubroot, you will be asked the following questions:
- In which Rural Municipality (RM) is the field located? If available, please include legal land description.
- Did you take photographs and are you willing to share them? Has a clubroot soil test been requested, submitted or tested? If yes, provide results.
- Is it a new field? If available, please include crop variety grown and crop rotation for this field. 
Additional information is valuable and can be used to identify clubroot risk factors and guide research decisions.

How will the clubroot findings be communicated?
1. Clubroot found and reported to the Ministry of Agriculture by an agrologist/grower OR identified through the clubroot monitoring program.
2. Clubroot confirmed is shared with RM. If a bylaw is enacted, the land location is shared with the RM. If no bylaw is enacted, the land location is not shared with the RM.
3. Clubroot is shared with the public. New information is entered into the Clubroot Distribution Map. The Ministry DOES NOT publicly share land locations.

For More Information
Please contact the Agriculture Knowledge Centre’s general inquiry line toll-free at (866) 457-2377.

Clubroot Research Results

For more information on clubroot:

- visit clubroot.ca
- visit the Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture’s website at saskatchewan.ca/crops
- contact a Plant Health Officer
- contact the Agriculture Knowledge Centre general inquiry line toll-free at 1-866-457-2377 or email aginfo@gov.sk.ca

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