Canola School: Go early or not at all for blackleg control

Blackleg seedlings resistant (back) vs non (front)

When scouting for blackleg, many imagine clipping stems near swathing or harvest time. But did you know that infection actually occurs at the very beginning of the growing season?

If you’re in a high risk situation, such as a tight rotation, growing the same variety, or have background resistance in the field, the disease can be sprayed for very early in the season. Remember: there are no control options later in the season.

The key, says Shawn Senko of the Canola Council of Canada, is the fungicide application has to be very, very early in order to be effective.

“Ideally, cotyledon to one-leaf would be ideal timing [for spraying]. So really, if you’re going to do it, you want to be in that early time. If you missed the timing, there’s not a lot of effectiveness of the timing,” explains Senko, in this Canola School video.

As well, any wounds that occur on the plant early in the season can be an entry point for blackleg. Instances such as wind damage, hail damage, and flea beetle damage are all examples of creating that entry point for blackleg.

If you miss the spraying window, and find blackleg infection later on in the season, it’s important to keep records, says Senko, as this could be very helpful information in a few years, when planning for canola back on the same field.

Check out the full conversation between Senko and RealAgriculture’s Kara Oosterhuis, below:

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