Press Releases

RDAR Announces $833,000 Investment for Canola Clubroot Research

Edmonton, Alberta – Clubroot (Plasmodiophora brassicae) is a critical disease in canola that threatens a crop that contributed $12.9 billion (2022) in exports to Canada’s economy [AB $4 billion]. By infecting the plant’s root, clubroot disrupts water and nutrient uptake, resulting in stunted growth, reduced seed quality, and significant yield losses of up to 50%.

RDAR, the Alberta Canola Producers Commission, and the Saskatchewan Canola Development Commission (SaskCanola) awarded $1.25 million to Dr. Stephen Strelkov, Professor of Plant Pathology at the University of Alberta, to lead an expert team in:

  • Breeding resistance into new crop varieties.

  • Developing new ways to control the pathogen.

  • Identifying clubroot resistance genes.

As part of this comprehensive five-year project (2023 – 2028), Dr. Strelkov’s team will contribute to the sustainable long-term control of clubroot and improved resistance stewardship, helping producers manage and reduce clubroot spores contaminating their fields. It is important to note that clubroot not only affects field productivity but also land value since buyers and renters perceive the clubroot-infested land to be less desirable.

“Clubroot is a constant threat to Alberta’s canola growers, and we are glad to see so many organizations come together to fund this project. It will look at multiple ways to reduce its impact and stem its spread across the prairies, and I look forward to the wide-ranging benefits for the sector.” — RJ Sigurdson, Minister of Agriculture and Irrigation

“Clubroot remains a significant risk to canola production in the prairies. This research initiative has the potential to enhance the strength and lifespan of clubroot-resistant traits by presenting canola breeders with new genes and tools. The ultimate goal is to provide more comprehensive resistance options for canola varieties to protect Alberta farm income.” — Clinton Dobson, RDAR Executive Director, Research

Current methods for managing clubroot include an “integrated approach” that includes crop rotation, soil supplements, and sanitizing machinery. Combining these methods and strategies with newly developed resistant canola varieties can give canola producers an added layer of protection for clubroot control.

“We are very grateful for the support for this project. This funding will make an important contribution to the sustainable long-term management of clubroot of canola.” — Lead Investigator Dr. Stephen Strelkov

Learn more about this project: Clubroot resistance gene function based on whole genome sequences, genome editing and resistance phenotypes

Industry Quotes:
“Alberta Canola is looking forward to working with Dr. Strelkov and his team: Dr. Hwang, and Dr. Fredua-Agyeman, while partnering with RDAR and SaskCanola, to better understand the gene function of clubroot resistance. Clubroot continues to be a major threat to canola production across the prairies. This project can potentially increase the durability and longevity of clubroot resistant genetics by providing novel tools and genes – ultimately, enabling a more robust resistance package in canola varieties to farmers.” — Alan Hampton, Alberta Canola Research Chair

“SaskCanola is pleased to partner with RDAR and Alberta Canola to fund this important canola research project. The results of this clubroot resistance genetics project will continue to expand our knowledge and industry adoption of novel resistance in new varieties, which is key to ensuring that growing canola continues to be a sustainable crop for Saskatchewan farmers.” — Codie Nagy, SaskCanola Research Chair

About RDAR
RDAR’s mandate is to target strategic investments in producer-led, results-driven agriculture research to power the competitiveness, profitability, productivity, and sustainability of Agriculture in Alberta. As a not-for-profit corporation, RDAR’s funding comes from the Government of Alberta, and the Governments of Canada and Alberta through the Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership Program.

About Alberta Canola
The mission of Alberta Canola is to support the long-term success of canola farmers in Alberta through research, extension, consumer engagement, and advocacy.

About SaskCanola
Our vision is growing producer prosperity. Our mission is to provide value to canola producers through research, advocacy, and market development.

RDAR Media Inquiries: 
Janada Hawthorne 
Communications Lead 
RDAR | Results Driven Agriculture Research 

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