A research scientist with DL Seeds wants producers to scout for blackleg symptoms early.

Sakaria Liban said they should be looking for signs of infection.

"Early infection is the most harmful. Later-on infection and mid-way through the season will be superficial, it will not have enough time to actually go to the base of the stem."

He added that this early infection can show up as a leaf infection up to the two to four leaf stage and is the most damaging.

"Then it has enough time to make its way down to the base of the stem."

Liban explained steps can be taken at this point in the growing season, such as fungicide applications.

He noted that the two optimal times for scouting are when the crop is at that two to four leaf stage and at the end of the season. If a producer starts noticing heavy blackleg in their field, Liban encourages them to try something different the next time they grow canola.

Liban added that impact of blackleg depends on the amount of resistance in the variety that was planted.

"If you have some quantitative resistance in the background of your variety, then the pathogen will be deterred or fight the plant all the way down to the base of the stem. It'll cause only minor cankering and should be able to give you full pods and still give you yield. There may be a minor effect depending on how much inoculant pressure is in your field."

He pointed out that rainfall amounts and management practices play heavily into canola's risk for blackleg infection.

"If you get a lot of rainfall early on, between when the plant first emerges up to the six leaf stage, and the existence of stubble from the previous year. If you get those two factors - the environment and the presence of the pathogen - then you are conducive to blackleg in your crop."

Liban admitted that blackleg has been well-managed in the industry, and although there's been a slight increase in cases, he said it should become less relevant in the future with the ongoing development of management techniques and farmers becoming more informed.