Agronomy Update – July 28th

Howdy everyone,

A sunnier day today after two dull and humid days.  A few folks got rain yesterday, but rainfall was very spotty.  In general, soil moisture levels are very strong across most of the province.  The fact that most canopies have closed is resulting in the hills remaining cool and moist.  I’ve spent most of my time recently in Central PEI, where generally fields look very impressive and healthy.


Spore Trapping Update:

Spornado Results for Monday, July 26th:  All sites negative for Late Blight

Airspore Results for Monday, July 26th:  All sites negative for Late Blight

Airspore Results for Alternaria/Bortrytis (July 26th)

Location Early Blight
(A. solani)
Brown Spot
(A. alternata)
Bortrytis cinerea
West Prince (ave of 5 sites) 0 0 3
East Prince (ave of 4 sites) 0 0 4
Queens (ave of 4 sites) 3 0 8
Morell/St Peters (1 site) 9 0 44
Eastern Kings (4 sites) 0 0 13


Late blight spore samples continue to come back as negative, despite very favourable weather for late blight infection.  Continue to keep a close watch on your fields, but lack of inoculum is most definitely our friend this year.

The first peak for early blight/brown spot appears to have passed last week and spore numbers are much lower this week, no doubt due in part to the last of heat in recent days.  Most grower have reported getting a couple of targeted fungicides on to protect against Alternaria, so that is also keeping the disease in check.


Funding Opportunity – PEIDAL Soil Health BMPs

I had a note from Peter Webb with the PEIDAL to let me know that the Department still has funding available for producers who apply to their fall cover crop and soil building crop BMP programs.  Kyra Stiles is returning from maternity leave starting next week, so feel free to contact Kyra to discuss your eligibility for these programs.  Both programs pay a per-acre amount to help with the costs of these BMPs.


Biosecurity – Be Vigilant!

Just a reminder for growers, fieldworkers, agronomists, and everyone entering potato fields this summer that it’s important to follow good biosecurity practices.  These include:

  • Leaving vehicles outside the field where possible if they are going from farm to farm.  If the vehicle needs to enter the field, consider disinfecting the tires.
  • Clean and disinfect all tools and footwear between farms/fields.  This includes soil probes, moisture sensors, shovels and shoes.
  • Any equipment entering a field for field operations from outside of your farm should be cleaned and disinfected.

There were multiple discoveries of Bacterial Ring Rot (BRR) in PEI last year, so it’s never been more important to remain vigilant to prevent the spread of disease.


Spudchat: Willow Trees

For this week’s episode of SpudChat, I talk with Emily Murphy, a Ph.D. Candidate at UBC who is working with the East Prince Agri-Environment Assoc. on their research into using willow trees to sequester carbon and nitrates as well as potentially being a source of soil organic matter.  Listen to the episode here to learn more!  Also available wherever you get your podcasts.


I have to say that I’m very happy to be providing you with updates lately without hearing of many big issues with the crop.  Crops look quite healthy and ahead of schedule, which holds great promise for an above average crop.  Rainfall has been average to above average and many fields have sufficient soil moisture for a couple of weeks now.  It looks like we’re expecting rain again on Friday, but perhaps some drier, sunnier days next week as we move into August.

Have a great rest of the week