A free clubroot information session was hosted at the Lac Ste. Anne County Administration Building on November 21. The following article is a recap of this event.
Clubroot, Plasmodiophora brassicae, is a soil-borne pathogen of cruciferous plants. It was first discovered in Alberta in 2007, and has been spreading like a wildfire since. Given that our last two summers have been very wet, the number of confirmed cases across the county has spiked significantly; over the last seven years, 30% of our cases were confirmed in 2017 alone.
Unlike werewolves, clubroot is not a myth and there is no silver bullet that will fix this problem. However, the first step is always education and understanding. Therefore, on the morning of November 21, 2017 a free clubroot information session was held at the Lac Ste. Anne County Administration Building.
We had two excellent speakers present, who are professionals in their industry and have been studying this disease for years. Dr. Stephen Strelkov, PhD., is a plant pathology professor at the University of Alberta, and specializes in clubroot. Dr. Michael Harding, PhD., is a research scientist of plant pathology with the Crop Diversification Centre South.
Dr. Stephen Strelkov, PhD., presented on the biology of clubroot, and gave a detailed walkthrough of the pathogen’s lifecycle. He also spoke on the use of resistant cultivars, and the importance of implementing longer rotations to reduce resistance breakdown.
Dr. Michael Harding, PhD., presented on prevention and management of the pathogen in our cropping systems. He discussed the importance of biosecurity, and how to implement biosecurity in a logical, real-life situation; doing something is always better than doing nothing when it comes to preventing the spread of clubroot.
We also discussed provincial and county policy, and how clubroot has been spreading throughout our municipality in the last decade.
We had 30 people attend the event – a mix of local producers, producers from neighbouring counties, and industry. The room was full of energy and enthusiasm, and all the presenters fielded many excellent questions about clubroot in the area, and policy around this pathogen.
We intend to make this session an annual event, and we aim to keep our producers as up-to-date, and in-the-know as we can. If you couldn’t make it to this meeting, keep your eyes open for the 2018 session! We cannot ignore this pathogen as a major concern to the agriculture industry, and the County will continue to act in the best interest of its producers. If you have questions or concerns about the County agricultural policies, please contact Agriculture Services at 780-785-3411, or talk to your local councillor.