The next generation of genetics developed by Crop Production Services (CPS), a subsidiary of Agrium Inc., demonstrates high levels of resistance to field populations of clubroot pathotype 5X, as well as  pathotypes 2, 3, 5, 6 and 8, according to preliminary data from CPS research and development collaborations.

Advanced CPS-bred Brassica napus canola hybrids with high levels of resistance to new emerging clubroot pathotypes would mark a first in the fight against the growing threat of this disease.

Multi-year research conducted in collaboration with the University of Alberta and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada identified multiple unique gene sources of 5X clubroot resistance. While some canola hybrids have demonstrated intermediate CR resistance, until now there has been no genetic offering that provides high levels of resistance to emerging new pathotypes, including 5X. CPS will be testing hybrids against pathotype 5X this summer.

“Early on we recognized the need to develop a multi-genetic approach with diverse gene sources to deliver durable protection against this challenging disease,” says Bruce Harrison, director of research and development with CPS Canada. “We’re very pleased to have created hybrids with these stacked CR resistance genes that will be entering the co-op testing system in 2015.”

Harrison said CPS has invested deeply in western Canadian-based research and development that provides growers with the very best in genetics to combat serious crop diseases. Caused by the pathogen Plasmodiophora brassicae, clubroot is a potentially devastating soil-borne disease that causes swelling or galls to form on roots in canola, ultimately killing the plant. It can destroy up to 50 per cent of an infected field, and in some cases has resulted in total yield loss.

“CPS has been a very good collaborator for us,” says Gary Peng, AAFC research scientist and project lead. “They provided us with the source material from their germplasm collection. We’ve identified the gene and have developed the molecular marker to drive efficiency into breeding for this trait.”

Habibur Rahman, professor of canola breeding with the University of Alberta, said growers will soon benefit from ongoing research and development collaborations. “CPS initiated this collaboration with the U of A in 2012, and one of the objectives was to deliver CR-resistant genes to the market in competitive canola hybrids. We’re very pleased with the progress that’s been made and farmers will benefit from the good work that’s been done.”

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