Canola industry responding to first report of verticillium wilt in canola

January 9, 2015 – The Canadian canola industry is focused on a collaborative approach to evaluate prevalence and develop a management strategy for verticillium wilt. Manitoba Agriculture Food and Rural Development (MAFRD) announced the detection of Verticillium longisporum (a species of verticillium wilt) in a canola field in Manitoba earlier this week.

“The Canola Council is working with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and MAFRD to understand the implications of this pathogen,” says Patti Miller, president of the Canola Council of Canada (CCC). “We will focus on collaborating with regulators, researchers and grower groups to determine its prevalence and bring best management practices to growers.”

MAFRD has reported the identification of verticillium wilt at a single location, and the CFIA has implemented risk mitigation measures at this site. “The industry has been fully cooperative with MAFRD and CFIA from the very beginning,” says Miller. “Although it’s disappointing that a new disease has been identified, it shows that the system is working and the industry is responding in a proactive and collaborative manner.” 

“The canola industry has a long history and significant experience in working together to control diseases and pest issues as they arise and this collaborative approach will continue,” says Miller.

The CCC will be posting information on the disease life cycle and identification to its website and bring management practices to growers in time for seeding. The latest research will also be discussed at the International Rapeseed Congress in Saskatoon in July 2015. A few facts currently available on the disease include:

  • It is not the same species that causes verticillium wilt in sunflower and potatoes, which is common throughout Manitoba.
  • Symptoms include chlorosis of lateral branches or leaves (often one-sided), early death stunting. At later stages, the outer stem may peel back to reveal black microsclerotia. 
  • The best time to scout for verticillium wilt in canola is at swathing, but it is even possible to identify this disease after harvest as microsclerotia will continue to develop. 
  • It is a soil-borne pathogen that can survive in the soil for 10 to 15 years, so biosecurity practices similar to those recommended for clubroot can help prevent spread.
  • Fungicides are not effective against this disease and host resistance in canola is not available at this time.

The CCC is a full value chain organization representing canola growers, processors, life science companies and exporters. Keep it Coming 2025 is the strategic plan to ensure the canola industry’s continued growth, demand, stability and success –  achieving 52 bushels per acre to meet global market demand of 26 million metric tonnes by the year 2025. 

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Media may contact:    
Patti Miller, President
204-982-2109
millerp@canolacouncil.org