Agronomy Update – April 16

It’s a lovely day in PEI…lots of folks starting to think about working land, bringing seed home, maybe even planting cereals before long.  Things are going to get busy in a hurry, so please prioritize safety for your and your employees this time of year.

Finalizing 2024 Trials

I’m working away on finalizing trials for 2024.  I have a couple more trials that I am looking for collaborating farms.  Please review and contact me if you think you might be a fit and would like more information:


  1. Intercropping
  • The Board is partnering with Yunfei Jiang at Dalhousie AC and ECODA on a trial looking at intercropping of pea/mustard or pea/camelina with monocrops of those.
  • We are looking for a farm or two who would be interested in growing peas, mustard or camelina, and an intercrop of the two in the same field in 2024, which would be followed by potatoes in 2025.
  • We have an agreement in place for Semican to purchase all resulting pea/oilseeds grown in 2024.
  • Anticipated planting date of mid-May, harvest in August/September. If you would be interested in this trial, please contact me at your earliest convenience.
  1. Comparison of Crop Rotations
  • Looking for farms interested in comparing a 3 year crop rotation with a cash crop every year but with max possible use of fall cover crops compared with standard potato/grain/forage rotation, possible also comparing potato/two year mulch crops.
  • Trial fields would have been in potatoes in 2023, not yet seeded for 2024.  Potatoes again in 2026.  Will consider fields already planted with winter wheat if there is part of the field not planted or paired with an unplanted field on same rotation.
  • Will do SWAT mapping of field if not already done, soil sampling, and yield sampling of any cash crops as well as biomass analysis of cover crops/mulch crops.
  • Project under AIM Soil Working Group.


Volunteer Management:

It was a relatively mild winter this year, without much frost in the ground in many parts of the province.

On the Agronomy Site (linked here), there is a good overview of herbicide options for volunteer control from New Brunswick.  Essentially, glyphosate (Round-Up) is the best option for battling potato volunteers.  However, potato volunteers are very hard to control even with glyphosate if there are a lot of them, as they can keep regrowing from the seed piece if it is large enough and not deteriorating.  Use of the label rate of glyphosate will likely keep those volunteers from setting viable tubers to continue being an issue, but volunteers in this crop season can be a source of inoculum for late blight and PVY, among other diseases.

If you have fields that had significant unharvested acres last year and where you are still finding intact tubers this spring, you may want to look at moldboard plowing to reduce the ability of those tubers to produce a plant.  If anticipating lots of volunteers, you may want to use a Round-up ready crop like corn or soybeans instead of cereals.  Pay special attention to field edges and anywhere where snow may have accumulated more than others, as these parts of the field likely had the least frost.  If you see any volunteers surviving past the spring, pay close attention for any signs of foliar disease!


2024 Aphid Alert Program:

Rebecca and I met with folks from the Department of Agriculture recently to discuss the Aphid Alert Program for 2024, including ways to improve both data collection as well as data communication back out to participants and all growers.

If you are a seed grower who would like to have an aphid trap this summer, please contact Rebecca MacSwain at (902) 314-9208  or  This goes for whether you have participated last year or not.


Spudchat – Aitazaz Farooque:

Another episode of Spudchat was released today, this time with Dr. Aitazaz Farooque of UPEI.  We talk about some of the research that UPEI has been working on in partnership with the Board and AIM, including variable rate seed spacing and the new project to identify PVY in-field with machine learning.  Available here or wherever you get your podcasts.  There will likely be a bit of a break in Spudchat for a few weeks as we get into the planting season, but I hope to pick up recording new episodes by late May/early June.

Have a great rest of the week