My canola has a number of dead plants in it. It has been a dry summer here, could I have sclerotinia?

Based on the rainfall in most of the province, the prematurely ripened plants are probably not due to sclerotinia, but there is a chance it could be.  Typically sclerotinia will look like prematurely ripened plants that are dead above a specific infection point on the stem.  Plant material tends to start shredding and may looked bleached.  More likely in 2012, it could be caused by blackleg which also causes premature ripening, but tends to affect the entire plant.  The stem may have lesions, but it will not shred and probably has black dots that look like pepper spots in the lesion.  To confirm diagnosis a sample can be sent to the MAFRI Crop Diagnostic lab in Winnipeg (submit sample through local MAFRI GO office).

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