Three Steps to Sanitizing Equipment

August 24, 2015

According to speakers at last week’s Canola Galla in Penhold, AB, a single gram of soil (roughly the size of a Smartie) can contain hundreds — if not thousands or even millions — of resting clubroot spores. And, those resting spores can survive up to 20 years in the soil, spreading by catching rides on wind, water, shoes, tires and equipment.

There are a few best management practices to help prevent the spread of the pathogen, with the majority of them centred around minimizing the movement of soil. For example, where clubroot is known or suspected to be present, it’s recommended vehicles avoid entering the field where possible. The Canola Council of Canada also suggests minimizing tillage operations to limit the movement of soil. And, one of the most common suggestions canola producers likely hear, is to clean and sanitize equipment.

Check out other recommendations on clubroot prevention/management from the Canola Council of Canada.

The process of sanitizing equipment takes three critical steps:

  1. Rough Cleaning
  2. Fine Cleaning
  3. Disinfectant Soak

A rough cleaning, according to Mike Harding, research scientist with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry, is simply banging or scraping excess dirt from field equipment. The fine cleaning takes it one step further, with the help of a pressure washer, to get in those hard-to-reach places, or to remove soil that’s caked on. Finally, a disinfectant soak (which relies on the first two steps to work properly), provides a little extra fighting power, but must be left on for 10-15 minutes.

And though taking all three steps is ideal in mitigating the risk of clubroot spread through equipment, even one or two make a difference.

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