Word to the Wise: Don’t Mix Canola and Sugar Beet in Your Rotations

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With a solid sugar beet industry, Taber, Alta., and the surrounding area is home to more than 200 sugar beet producers. Sugar beet cyst nematode is controlled mainly by crop rotation in southern Alberta, which seems to hold population numbers at a low level that is non-damaging to crops, says the University of Manitoba’s Mario Tenuta, Canada research chair in applied soil ecology. However, he warns throwing one crop into the mix could be detrimental.

“Sugar beet cyst nematode can thrive on canola, another mustard family crop. The key thing here is that growers don’t mix canola and sugar beet in their rotations,” he says.

Meanwhile, with the threat of cereal cyst nematode heading north from Montana into Alberta, wheat producers should pay close attention to one cereal crop in particular, says Tenuta. “Winter wheat tends to be a bit more susceptible [to CCN] because it is growing in the fall, and roots are establishing and present in the soil a bit longer. The nematode can complete generations and establish earlier the preceding year,” he says.

—Kari Belanger