Agronomy Update – Feb 28th

Hi everyone.  It’s been a cool few days in PEI, but it sounds like we’re due for a little bit of a warm-up in the next week or so.  For those that are taking advantage of the Canada Games break to get away to somewhere warmer, I hope that your travels all go well!


Presentations from AIM Workshops:  Soil Improvement

Last week, we hosted Mario Tenuta from the University of Manitoba to talk about potato early dying and nitrogen management and Aitazaz Farooque from UPEI to talk about detecting soil compaction.  I also provided an update on some of the cover crop and rotation crop research that we’ve been doing through AIM and Living Labs.

Copies of their slide decks as well as videos of their presentations are now linked on the PEI Potato Agronomy Site on the Seminars/Workshops page.  Be sure to check those presentations out!


AIM Local Workshops:  Seed Management (March 8th and 9th)

Next week, we are hosting another series of local workshops for producers and AIM industry partners on the topic of seed management.  Our speakers will be:

  • Newton Yorinori, Director Agricultural Research, Breeding and Seed Development at Cavendish Farms
  • Rick Peters, Plant Pathology Scientist, Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada, Charlottetown
  • Ryan Barrett, Research & Agronomy Specialist, PEI Potato Board

Our speakers will be talking about range of seed management topics, including BMPs for seed cutting, seed handling, preventing disease spread in seed, and producing the optimally sized seed lot.

Meeting dates and times:

  • Wed, March 8th:  9:00 am at Emerald Community Centre
  • Wed, March 8th:  1:30 pm at Fox Island Seed Farm (upstairs)
  • Thurs, March 9th: 9:00 am at Riverhouse Inn, Montague


SpudChat is back!

After a bit of a hiatus, new episodes of our SpudChat podcast are dropping.  For the next few weeks, we’ll be sharing some of the presentations from the PEI Potato Conference for those that weren’t able to attend or that wanted to listen to a presentation you missed.

First up, we are sharing Mathuresh Singh’s presentation on PVY and why 2022 was such a challenging year for this virus.  SpudChat is available on all major podcast platforms and feeds.


Looking for hosts for 2023 trials:

We are starting to put together new on-farm trials for 2023, and we have some new trials that we are looking for growers who would be interested in partnering on some of this work.  Thanks to those that have already indicated interest in these trials.  While we do not have research plans finalized for each project, here are some areas of research where we are looking for farms to host trials:

  1. Mapping soil compaction
    • Looking for small to medium sized fields (10-30 acres) that you think may have varying degrees of soil compaction
    • Ideally, participating farms would have relatively new CaseIH or John Deere tractors with access to in-field GPS data
    • Ideally, participating farms would have some form of yield monitor on their potato harvester
    • Looking for fields that will be in forages or some sort of non-cash crop in 2023, destined for potatoes in 2024
    • Option to include subsoil tillage as a treatment if interested
  2. Rotational Grazing
    • Looking for farms that are interested in adding rotational grazing in 2023 on existing forages or forages to be planted, followed by potatoes in 2024.
    • Option to extend research to an additional 3 year rotation, with potatoes again in 2027.
    • Fields will be set up with both rotational grazing and “business as usual” rotation without grazing.
    • We will help find a participating beef producer if you don’t have one already in mind.
    • We can assist with applications to OFCAF program for assistance with fencing, watering costs
    • Per year grower participation payment
    • SWAT mapping of field at no cost
  3. Building Soil Organic Matter through maximum green cover and minimum tillage
    • Looking for farms that are interesting in setting up a comparison for 5 years comparing a standard 3 year rotation with conventional tillage and no cover crops with a 3 year rotation with a cover crop every year and reduced tillage
    • Can be done in a split field experiment or in paired fields that are close by, same crop history.
    • Per year grower participation payment
    • Would be eligible for OFCAF funding
    • SWAT mapping of field at no cost
    • Exact nature of rotation crops, cover cropping, tillage will be determined when working with the farm.
  4. Determining N credits from legumes
    • Looking for farms that are going to be in alfalfa or red clover in 2023, destined for potatoes in 2024.
    • Plan to do different rates of N applied in 2024 potato crop (including small area of 0 N) to quantify N credit from legumes.
    • Looking for fields that will be planted to the following varieties:  Mountain Gem, Dakota Russet, Targhee Russet, Ranger Russet, Alverstone Russet.
    • Also want to look at use of cover versus no cover and timing of termination of legume, depending on the farm.
    • Per year grower participation payment
    • Would be eligible for OFCAF funding
    • SWAT mapping of field at no cost

If you are interested in any of these trials, please contact me for more information and to discuss further.  These are not all of the trials we are doing in 2023, but the first few that we are trying to line up partners for.  If you have an idea of an on-farm trial that you would be interested in discussing, please feel free to contact me.

Have a great rest of the week!