Posts Tagged ‘disease’

Warm spring brings more insects to Prairies-Grain News

Monday, May 28th, 2012

A warm spring across the Prairies is bringing larger insect populations to crop-growing regions this season.

Manitoba and Alberta canola crops are seeing increasing populations of flea beetles this spring. The insects feed on multiple parts of the plant and can be very damaging for canola in its early development stages. Both provinces have already received reports of damage from the insects this year…(read more)

Update on Clubroot in Alberta

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012

Clubroot first appeared in Alberta in home gardens in the 1970s. In 2003, the disease was found in canola in 12 fields in Sturgeon County, northwest of Edmonton. From that time, a number of surveys have been conducted to monitor this disease. To date, over 6000 canola and vegetable fields have been surveyed, and clubroot has been confirmed in at least 830 fields in the province. Maps showing the affected areas and the spread of the disease over the years have been uploaded to the Alberta Agriculture website.
“Clubroot is an endemic disease, certainly in central Alberta,” says Dr. Ron Howard, plant pathology research scientist with Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development. “The disease is spreading by a variety of mechanisms and management is difficult. The number of new cases in 2011 (265 fields), represents the biggest single year increase in clubroot confirmed fields since 2003. The abundant rainfall we received last year was no doubt a contributing factor that favoured infection and disease development. Weather conditions have a huge effect on this disease, so in years, such as last year, where conditions are very wet, the incidence of the disease increases.”

Clubroot is a significant economic threat to the canola industry and was included as a declared pest under the Agricultural Pests Act in 2007. The disease is very difficult to control once it becomes established in a field. It decreases yield in canola and also poses a risk to mustard and cole crop vegetables in the province.

Clubroot management strategies include:

  • removing soil and crop debris from equipment and machinery moving out of infested fields
  • using direct seeding or minimum-tillage cropping methods, which reduces the movement of soil during tillage operations and reduces stirring the soil and the spread of the disease
  • using long rotations between successive crops of canola to allow the pathogen population to decline in the interval
  • avoiding spreading straw, hay, greenfeed, silage crops harvested from clubroot infested fields onto clean fields because of earth tag which can carry the disease
  • NOT spreading manure from cattle fed with clubroot infested crops or forages on non-infested fields, as resting spores can survive passage through the gut of cattle
  • NOT using common, untreated seed harvested from clubroot infested fields because of the possibility of dust and earth tag that may contain clubroot spores, and certainly dirty seed should be avoided
  • regularly scouting canola, mustard and vegetable fields to discern the situation in the field and ensure that the disease isn’t spreading

“The advent of clubroot-resistant hybrids represents a major step forward in clubroot management,” says Howard. “The six products available seem to be standing up fairly well in clubroot infested areas. These varieties, while not completely resistant to clubroot, are not overwhelmed by the disease and yield is not reduced. It is very important to realize that even though a resistant variety is used, crop rotations of three years or more are still necessary to help slow the build-up of this disease in infested fields.”

Research is ongoing. Early on, there was very limited information on how to manage the disease in canola. Control strategies from vegetable growers were not that directly transferable. This prompted a whole line of research to look at disease management practices and to help understand the biology of the disease in canola. In 2009, the Clubroot Risk Mitigation Initiative was created using about $4 million in Growing Forward funding. This collaborative research has focused on pathology, breeding and disease management.

“An integrated approach is needed to manage this disease, including good stewardship of the resistant varieties of canola that are available,” says Howard.

Additional information on clubroot, including AgriFax and factsheets, is available on Alberta’s website at by typing clubroot into the search field.

Topics for the Month

Monday, December 12th, 2011

From Canola Watch

Crop planning. Recognize the value of diversity. The more growers do to vary their practices — including rotation of crops, pest control products, and varieties — the harder it will be for diseases, insects and weeds to adapt and increase. This can provide a long-term economic benefit.

Check bins and bags. Agronomy surveys show that only about half of growers check their canola bins on a regular basis. Temperature fluctuations experienced recently can lead to issues with condensation, and  warmer than normal average temperatures (see the map below) can slow the rate at which stored grain cools, both reducing stability of stored canola. See the graph below the map for one example of how daytime highs have fluctuated over the past 30 days. Data for this graph came from Alberta Agriculture’s website. Don’t forget about canola in bags that may be out in the field and out of sight. Aerate or move the grain if monitoring shows the rate of grain cooling is too slow to ensure safe storage.

The Eastern Prairies were warmer than usual in November. Source: AAFC

Temperature fluctuations for Camrose in November 2011

Canola Performance Trial results are coming soon. Booklets will be available at retailers this month and at canola association booths at the January farm shows. Data will also be available at this website, which is not activated yet:

Clubroot Infested Areas in Alberta in 2011

Friday, November 4th, 2011

From Alberta Canola Producers Commission

Clubroot is a serious soil-borne disease of canola and is considered a declared pest under Alberta’s Agricultural Pests Act. It is not a new disease in Canada or Alberta; however, it is just in the last few years that it has been found in a number of counties in Alberta. Clubroot continues to spread and is a significant concern for Alberta producers.

download a printable pdf version of the map

for more information on clubroot visit

Additional information regarding Clubroot Disease of Canola and Mustard is available on-line from Alberta Agriculture

For more information about the content of this document, contact Alberta’s Provincial Oilseed Specialist Murray Hartman.

Cumulative clubroot infestations as of November 2011 from University of Alberta, Alberta Agriculture and county surveys. November 2011 map is preliminary since the survey compilation is not quite complete.

Issues of the week

Friday, September 9th, 2011

From Canola Council of Canada

Warm days forecast for the coming week will give later canola crops a good chance to ripen further before swathing. If growers have a lot of canola to swath and feel they must swath something, go with the most mature crop first. On hot days, swath in the evening to give plants time to dry down slowly and let the green clearing processes function properly.

Swathing is a good time to flag large weed patches. If these patches surprise you, consider what contributed to these escapes. Are these particular species a challenge for your preferred herbicide tolerance system to control? Could they be resistant to certain herbicide groups? Or did stressful conditions contribute to reduced efficacy or poor crop competition for later emerging weeds? Identifying and recording the location of these weeds at swathing will help you with a management plan for next year.

Swathing is also a good time to scout for disease outbreaks. Clubroot incidence seems to be increasing this year, and spotting the disease now will give growers a chance to implement containment strategies.

When combining in hot conditions, put canola on aeration right away to cool it down. Also check any canola that was binned hot in the past few weeks. It should also be on aeration. Even canola at 8% moisture can start to heat if stored hot.

Be On the Lookout for Late Blight

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011

From Agri-News

In 2010, the combination of wet weather in many areas along with the introduction of the late blight pathogen into Alberta resulted in an outbreak of late blight across much of south and central Alberta. It is considered highly likely that the late blight pathogen was carried over in potato seed from last year, despite the precautions taken. Adding to the risk for late blight is the annual occurrence of excellent disease conditions in other regions where some tomato transplants are sourced. The combination of factors means that there is significant potential for late blight to occur again in 2011.
“Currently, conditions across the province have been excellent for the development of late blight, although no late blight has been reported,” says Robert Spencer, commercial horticulture specialist with Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development. “It is recommended that ALL growers of potatoes and tomatoes be extra vigilant to try and catch any diseased material early on, before a significant outbreak can occur.”

In the early season, people should watch for tomato transplants and newly emerged potato shoots with water soaked leaf lesions. Plants may later develop lesions if the disease is introduced and conditions are suitable. Water soaked lesions can grow and spread rapidly, with lesions not contained by leaf veins. In wet conditions, a fluffy growth may develop on the underside of leaves on the margins of lesions.

“As the season progresses, the risk of late blight being introduced and then developing in your crops will increase if late blight has been found/reported in your region, as spores can travel up to 100 km on storm fronts,” says Spencer. “Wet and humid conditions, and moderate temperatures are favourable for disease development. Prolonged periods of leaf wetness caused by dew, rainfall or overhead sprinkler irrigation also favour disease development and spread.

“If you find plants showing suspicious lesions, it is recommended that you dispose of infected material as quickly as possible, removing diseased parts (small scale) or killing-out plants so disease cannot develop further. So that adjacent living tissues are not infected, bury or bag-up infected plant material as spores will continue to be produced as the tissues die. In some cases, the application of protective fungicides can be made if conditions favour disease (and if disease is known to be present in the province). Home gardeners should consult local suppliers (garden centres, etc.) for available, registered products.”

If you have suspect plants, consult a local horticulturalist for assistance. Commercial operations, such as potato growers, market gardeners, greenhouse/garden centres, can contact 310-FARM (3276) to determine if further testing is required and to discuss management. Please do not hesitate to report an incidence, as early awareness will help to prevent and contain an outbreak and can help others to protect their crop.

Late blight is a community disease, with the potential to affect many industries and individuals.

A Perfect Storm for Crop Disease?

Tuesday, July 5th, 2011

From Agri-News

After a wet 2010 in many areas of the province, this spring is providing more of the same. Tight crop rotations coupled with another wet spring are ideal conditions for plant diseases to rear their ugly heads.

“There was a lot of disease showing up last year and it provided plenty of inoculum to infect this year’s crop,” says Harry Brook, crop specialist with Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development. “You might say that conditions this year are setting up for the perfect storm of crop disease.

“One disease of particular concern in Southern Alberta is stripe rust in wheat. Normally, this disease does not overwinter in Alberta but is blown in from the southern United States. However, early appearance of stripe rust in winter wheat this spring has the potential for causing serious crop yield losses. This is indicating that the rust actually overwintered in southern Alberta. Continued humid conditions favour the development and spread of this disease. With such an early start, the potential for crop damage is greatly increased. It is likely these pockets of leaf rust in the south will spread to spring cereals and have plenty of time to affect crop yield.”

The disease is easy to identify as it forms pustules on the leaf upper surface. Walking through an infected field leaves footwear and pants covered in dust which is composed of billions of disease spores. These spores can travel hundreds of miles on the wind, rapidly spreading the disease.

There are fungicides that can effectively control this disease, but it is imperative that it is caught early. This underscores the importance of regularly scouting fields and identifying issues before they can grow into serious problems. Under the right conditions the disease develops rapidly and the yield losses can quickly increase.

“Plenty of moisture and warm temperatures foster the growth of other plant diseases,” continues Brook. “In cereals, other diseases that are showing themselves include common root rot, fusarium root rot, fusarium head blight, tan spot, and septoria leaf blotch, just to name a few. Short rotations or growing the same crop on the same land year-after-year are probably the worst way to manage crop diseases. Infected plant material from the previous year has plenty of opportunity to infect the current year’s crop and cause even more damage.”

Diseases in canola expected to be a problem this year are sclerotinia and blackleg. Wet conditions have already caused problems with seedling blights, even though the seed was treated. In pulses, some of the diseases to watch for include ascochyta, mycosphaerella blight, sclerotinia stem rot and mildew.

“Regardless of the disease, we have weather conditions that are nearly perfect for the development of yield-robbing diseases in field crops,” says Brook. “It is essential to regularly scout your fields, identify the problems, then treat them if they are at economically damaging levels or monitor the situation. Putting the crop in the ground is a lot like putting all your eggs in one basket. . . watch that basket!”

For information on fungicides call your DynAgra representative today!

Southern Alberta Disease Update

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011

We should be extra diligent in scouting for disease this year as wet conditions last season and continuous rain this spring are promoting the spread of leaf spot on cereal crops.  Winter wheat growers should be conscious of timing to optimize on leaf disease and fusuriam control at heading out stage.

Disease found in crop for the week of June 13-19 (especially cereal on cereal crop rotations):
Septoria leaf blotch (in both wheat and barley)
Tan spot (wheat)

Herbicide carryover can stop emergence

Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

From Canola Council of Canada

Seedlings that curl up and start to brown off before emergence could be infected with seedling disease. But they could also be damaged by herbicide carryover.

Dry conditions or saturated conditions can extend the period required for herbicide breakdown. For this reason, carryover damage may be occurring when it wasn’t expected. In the Peace region, some canola seeded into pea stubble is showing signs of possible group-2 herbicide damage. The Peace was dry last year and herbicide breakdown may have been slower than expected.

Damage from herbicide residue can also be worse when it rains after a few weeks of dry weather. In this case, clay particles can release herbicide molecules they had taken up earlier.

Symptoms for herbicide carryover are generally the same as symptoms when the wrong product is accidentally sprayed over the crop. There are different symptoms for the different herbicide groups.

Hints that soil herbicide carryover may be the cause:
—Residual herbicide has been used on the field before.
—Symptoms appear worse on hilltops or valleys. When symptoms are worse at the edges of the field, that indicates drift. When symptoms are even over the field or change intensity in a clean line from one portion of the field to the next, the damage was probably caused by an in-crop application this year.

Click here for a table showing herbicide carryover.

AgroClimate Information Service gives farmers tools to plan

Thursday, May 19th, 2011

With over 270 weather stations across Alberta giving daily or hourly reading on various weather observations, Alberta farmers have access to interactive tools through the ACIS website to help long-term planning and decision making based on current and past weather trends. Using maps to capture statistics and trends, some going back as far as 50 years, the information can be used to improve risk assessment for flood and drought forecasting, water use efficiency strategies, insect and disease modeling and even for crop insurance purposes.

The hourly and daily observations include:

Precipitation (273 stations)

Temperature (269 stations)

Humidity (180 stations)

Solar radiation (73 stations)

Two metre wind speed (132 stations)

Two metre wind direction (67 stations)

Ten metre wind speed and direction (111 stations)

Soil moisture and temperature (36 stations)

Snow depth (25 stations)

There are over 3000 maps of weather and climate related information to view that provide you with useful data to manage your farm.  Click here to visit the site and let us know what you think.

Precipitaion Map

Precipitaion Map