What is airborne blackleg and why is it important in canola?

Airborne blackleg is caused by spores released from infected stubble or residue and deposited on canola plants. These spores can enter the plant through any type of infection points, including damage caused by hail or flea beetle feeding. In canola, blackleg infections can restrict moisture and nutrient uptake through the stem, leading to premature plant death, increased lodging and yield losses. Early infection by airborne spores is the main cause of later-season stem infection and yield loss caused by blackleg.