Understanding Fusarium wilt and root rot of hybrid canola: occurrence, host range, disease development, resistance and yield losses

Project Details

Status: Active
Investment: $350,000
Commodity: Canola
Organization: University of Alberta
Investigator: Sheau-Fang Hwang

Over 20% of canola fields in central Alberta have poor seedling establishment and root rot, most often caused by Fusarium spp.

Why is this research important for Alberta ag?

High seed costs of new canola cultivars make it important to efficiently achieve target plant populations. However, over 20% of canola fields in central Alberta have poor seedling establishment and root rot, most often caused by Fusarium spp. Past work on Fusarium in canola is limited and outdated and shifts in production practices combined with shorter rotations may have resulted in fundamental changes in the pathogen profile in canola growing regions.

This research will develop the up-to-date knowledge needed to mitigate losses resulting from Fusarium wilt and root rot.

What benefits can producers expect from this research?

In order to sustain the canola industry, potential threats to production such as Fusarium seedling blight, root rot and wilt must be addressed before they can become unmanageable.

A practical model relating Fusarium spp. inoculum level to root rot and wilt severity to yield loss will be developed to allow producers to plan control measures, and for the agronomic efficacy and economic benefits of control measures to be evaluated more accurately.

How will these research findings reach producers on-farm?

Results will be shared with growers, industry, and the scientific community through:

  • Discussions and seminars with canola growers and industry representatives

  • Data summaries will be provided to key groups to provide guidance on disease management

  • Presentations will be made at various industry and scientific meetings, such as the Canola Discovery Forum, CanoLab, CanolaPalooza, Canadian Phytopathological Society, Plant Pathology Society of Alberta, and at Municipal Agriculture Service Board meetings

  • Disease survey data will be reported annually in the Canadian Plant Disease Survey

  • Articles will be published in industry publications like Western Producer, Top Crop Manager, and Grainews

  • Articles will be published in scientific journals like Canadian Journal of Plant Science, Canadian Journal of Plant Pathology, Plant Pathology, and Journal of Plant Diseases and Protection

  • Demonstration plots at CanolaPALOOA, Canola Crop Walk, and other meetings to educate growers and agronomists

  • Results will be shared with provincial diagnostic labs