A spore catcher was on display during the recent canolaPALOOZA events in Saskatoon and Lacombe.

The Spornado is used to monitor and collect sclerotinia spores on canola and fusarium spores on cereal crops.

Business Development Manager with 20/20 Seed Labs, Kevin Zaychuk, said the cassettes in the trap are then sent to be tested.

"Once they find out if they have the pathogen, then the producer would be watching the weather conditions, as well to see if the conditions are conducive to infection, so that would be the rainfall and the humidity. Then the producer can use that information for the fungicide application."

Zaychuk said, the Spornado was first used in Ontario to monitor late-blight fungus in potatoes.

"It's really critical that the (potato) grower sprays right when they see the pathogen, so with this technology, they're able to let the grower know overnight if he has the late-blight fungus in his field so he can control it. So we thought it would have a fit with Alberta or Western Canadian producers on sclerotinia on canola and fusarium on the cereal crops."

Vegreville area farmer, Gordon Tuck, started using the Spornado last year with the help of 20/20 Seed Labs, and used the catcher in both his wheat and canola fields.

Farmers can get results the same day the cassettes are sent in to be tested.

"We'll know yes we need to spray, or no there's nothing moving so we don't need to spray," Tuck said. "When we start to look at if we should spray or not, most of the fungicides we're going to be using are in the $20 range, plus application costs, so if you do 1000 acres you could see where the costs could run if it's $30 per acre and 1000 acres is $30,000. If we could save that, then that's pretty significant savings."

The Spornado costs about $500 with two complimentary tests.

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