Agronomy Update – Feb 3rd

Hi everyone. I hope everyone is ready for the short but brutal cold snap that is coming tonight and tomorrow. Everyone stay safe and stay warm this weekend!

We are heavy into “meeting season”, so a few reminders about upcoming meetings:

Cereals & Oilseeds / Soil & Crop Meetings, Feb 8-9th in Summerside

There is a strong line-up of speakers and topics over both days that should be of interest to all PEI farmers. The brochure with the speaker line-up is attached to this email. They ask that those planning to attend pre-register in order to make sufficient arrangements on food.

2023 PEISCIA – AGC Conference Agenda (PDF)


PEI Potato Conference, Feb 13th in Summerside

The next week, we’ll be back at Credit Union Place for the PEI Potato Conference, brought to you by the Potato Board and the Department of Agriculture & Land.  We ask that you also pre-register for this conference by contacting Lorraine MacKinnon at the PEIDAL by Feb 8th. I think that we have a good diversity of topics on the agenda with engaging speakers, both local and out-of-province. We look forward to seeing you in Summerside on the 13th! For CCAs: there are 6.0 CEUs approved for the conference.

PEI Potato Conference Agenda (PDF)


AIM Local Workshops – February 23rd/24th

I know that many folks are going away during the Canada Games…but I had the opportunity to get Dr. Mario Tenuta of the University of Manitoba to come back to PEI for some local workshops that week. Many of you will remember Mario from some sessions he did back in 2018 on potato early dying (PED). Well Mario is coming back to share some of the key learnings from the Canadian Potato Early Dying Network national cluster project that is just wrapping up, as well as some important research he has been doing on enhanced efficiency nitrogen products, a very timely topic.

In addition, I’ve invited Dr. Aitazaz Farooque from UPEI to come and share some results from some research that he and his team have been doing in partnership with AIM on soil compaction, including the potential use of soil electroconductivity sensors (ie. SWAT mapping) to detect and map soil compaction. I will also share some results of 2022 AIM trials. For CCAs: there are 2.5 CEUs approved for these workshops.

Workshop times and locations:

Thursday, Feb 23rd 9:00 am Emerald Community Centre
Thursday, Feb 23rd 1:30 pm Fox Island Seed Farm (Upstairs Meeting Room)
Friday, Feb 24th 9:00 am Riverhouse Inn, Montague

We look forward to seeing you! No pre-registration is required…bring anyone that you think would be interested!


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. 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. Determing 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.


Cover Crop/N Management Mentoring Session:

I am doing a mentoring session for farmers on Monday, Feb 6, 1-2 PM for a Zoom Q&A on nitrogen management and cover cropping.


You will need to register (for free) to get the Zoom link. Targeted toward producers with questions about cover crop management or nitrogen management…including plans for 2023. Contact me if you have any questions in advance.

There is a lot in this email…congrats for getting all the way to the end! Please take advantage of some of these knowledge transfer events this winter…we have a lot of research results from the past few years, funded in part by AIM and the PEI Potato Board, that we want to share with you!

Have a great weekend. Stay warm and stay safe!