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Commercial quantities of clubroot-resistant canola for 2010?

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Pioneer Hi-Bred seed company says it’s “racing” to bring a new clubroot-resistant canola hybrid to market for next spring.

“This breakthrough will have tremendous benefits to canola growers in areas of Alberta where the disease has become a significant issue, therefore it is critical that we get this hybrid to market as soon as possible,” said Ian Grant, president of PHB’s Canadian business, in a release November 5.

PHB said its new hybrid “demonstrated similar yield potential to leading commercially-available hybrids,” and contains Monsanto’s Roundup Ready trait.

Several candidate hybrids were field-tested in the Edmonton area in locations where the clubroot strains were known to be present, PHB said.

“By testing hybrids under heavy disease pressure, we get an accurate indication of the true resistance,” said Dave Charne, PHB’s research director, in the release. One of the test hybrids showed a “high level of resistance” to the clubroot strains in those fields, he said.

“When the trials were evaluated, the new hybrid was shoulder-height and the roots were healthy,” Charne said, while the check hybrid, a non-resistant PHB variety, “was only knee-high and the roots were mushy.”

PHB will seek early registration in 2009 and is now using winter production in South America to increase the amount of seed that can be available for 2009, with a full-scale commercial launch in 2010.

DETECTION TEST

Also in news about clubroot, 20/20 Seed Lab of Nisku was awarded an Agri-Trade innovation award this year for its clubroot detection test earlier this month.

The company is primarily a seed testing lab. “We got into the clubroot end of things as our business deals with canola and other farm seeds,” said Barry Little, a company sales and marketing representative.

The clubroot detection test used by 20/20 was developed by the University of Alberta.

The DNA-based diagnostic test detects 1,000 resting spores in a gram of soil. “Clients send us a two-cup sample and we test 100 g of that,” said Little.

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