Garth Hodges, the Global Canola Manager for BASF, was at the Farm Forum Event earlier this month in Calgary, speaking about how clubroot is the biggest threat to canola production worldwide.
The Canola Council of Canada states the disease leads to swollen, deformed plant roots that restrict water and nutrient uptake, resulting in premature ripening or plant death.
"It's a disease that is really, really hard to control," Hodges says. "But it's even a disease that is harder to find genetics to put into our InVigor, or into canola, to be able to protect it. This is a really difficult, hard disease, and if farmers don't help us, the genetics on it's own is not going to work for very long."
Hodges says, farmers need to use longer crop rotations to stop the spread of the disease, adding snow is not a rotation.
He also expressed concern about Health Canada's proposed ban on all outdoor uses of neonics including seed treatments, which he says, would make it very hard to grow canola.
"Killing flea beetles is going to be very difficult. They'll take a few bites of the tiny little plant, and then it's all over. For me it is concerning, and it's just one more of the things that's going to be facing us that's a big challenge."
Hodges says, the insecticides are very helpful, and they're confident in the science behind it.
He says, now the industry needs to be open and frank about how safe and valuable neonics are in crop production.