Analysis and monitoring of Leptosphaeria maculans race dynamics in western Canada for effective use of cultivar resistance in management of blackleg on canola

Researcher: Gary Peng, Fengqun Yu, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Saskatoon SK, Dilantha Fernando, University of Manitoba, Sheau-Fang Hwang, Alberta Agriculture and Forestry; Stephen Strelkov, University of Alberta

Project Code: CARP-SCDC2013-8

Final Report: July 2017

Summary: For many years, the main blackleg management strategies in western Canada were variety resistance and crop rotation. However, with tighter crop rotations in most of the canola growing regions, there have been increasing reports of blackleg, with a sudden spike reported in 2012. In 2013, a four-year project was initiated to analyze/monitor the Avr profile in the pathogen population and identify new pathogen races capable of overcoming specific R genes. Over the four years of the study, the pathogen population changed noticeably across the Prairies, showing that the major blackleg resistance (R) genes Rlm1 and Rlm3, found commonly in our canola cultivars, are no longer effective due to the generally low presence of AvrLm1 and AvrLm3 in the pathogen population. In cases where severe blackleg damage occurs in a field, continued good practice is to consider a longer crop rotation option as the first line of defense and use a variety carrying effective R gene(s). An additional 5 years of funding starting in 2017 will support continued monitoring of pathogen populations.

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