Volunteers needed to use sclerotinia risk assessment tool

Volunteers needed to use sclerotinia risk assessment tool
Jul 13, 2023

Anyone interested can contact the Canola Council of Canada

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

The Canola Council of Canada (CCC) is looking for farmers, agronomists, and members of retail networks to volunteer to use its sclerotinia risk assessment tool.

“The tool is something we’ve been working on for the past few years,” Chris Manchur, an agronomy specialist with the organization, told Farms.com. “The main goal of this tool and us beta testing it is to get nice and validated information across Western Canada and give growers the best opportunity to make decisions in the field.”

The CCC also uses the results to update its sclerotinia checklist.

Anyone wishing to be involved must email Manchur.

He then provides a link to the beta testing website, where the tester is required to input specific information.

“We’ve got six or seven risk factors listed and you’ll need to submit,” he said. “Once that’s done, you’ll get this risk point, and it does provide a recommendation whether it’s worth spraying or not. Ultimately that decision to spray is up to you.”

Participants will then return to that field around the 30- to 60 per cent seed colour change and assess it for sclerotinia severity.

“This helps you see whether or not the recommendation was correct,” Manchur said.

The CCC is hoping to survey 100 fields across Western Canada in 2023.

Once the data is collected, Manchur and his team will look at whether certain factors contribute more to sclerotinia than others, and also evaluate the accuracy of the risk tool.

The organization first launched the risk assessment tool in 2021.

But because of the dryness of that year, sclerotinia levels were low and producers didn’t apply much fungicide.

The next year, the CCC collected data from about 30 fields.

“But there wasn’t enough statistical significance to make any solid conclusions,” Manchur said.

Members of the ag community are already submitting their fields to be part of the testing for 2023.

And some are receiving recommendations to apply fungicide.

“From the current fields we have involved already, a low minority of fields do have a recommendation to spray,” Manchur said. “That’s from the soil moisture levels right now. If you walk through a field and your pants aren’t getting wet, that’s a sign that applying a fungicide may not be economically significant.”

CCC will provide updates about the 2023 results in the fall, Manchur said.

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