Agronomy Update – July 2nd

Good morning everyone,

A short Agronomy Update today on what is a long weekend for many.  Crops are growing fast and the forecast is calling for more rain tonight, which I’m sure is welcome on most farms across the province.

Some rainfall totals from the past week and the past month, courtesy of the PEIDAL weather stations:

Station Last Week June
Mill River 33.0 mm 61.0 mm
Kensington 13.6 mm 64.6 mm
Tryon 17.8 mm 55.8 mm
New Glasgow 15.4 mm 45.4 mm
Harrington 42.6 mm 89.2 mm
Dover 10.6 mm 87.4 mm
Souris 22.0 mm 99.4 mm

As you can see, the eastern half of the Island has had average or above average cumulative rainfall for the past month, while Prince County is a bit on the dry side; however, some individual locations in Prince County got thunderstorms this week which dropped 15-30 mm in a couple of hours.  The rain forecast for tonight and this weekend will be welcomed, especially if everyone gets a drink!


Spore Trapping Update:

This year, the PEI Potato Board (with support from the PEIDAL CAP Applied Research Program) is doing a pilot program of an “early warning system” for late blight using the Spornado testing program from Sporometrics, based in Ontario.  We will be collecting samples each Monday from 8 sites spaced out across the Island.  This is a “passive” spore collector system, where wind moves through the cone continuously throughout the week, and we send in a sample once a week by swapping out the cartridge in the collector.

We hope to have those results to share with you by Wednesday of each week.  These samples will provide a positive or negative presence of late blight spores in those communities.  In previous years in Ontario, spores have often been detected 5-7 days before foliar symptoms were observed, so we are treating this program as an indicator to help growers make decisions about their spray schedules.

In addition, there are a number of Island farms continuing to use the AirSpore service which we have shared results with you for the last couple of years.  Collections have just started in the last week or so.  This system uses an “active” collection process, where air is sucked through a collector for 15 minutes and then a sample is tested and counted for a few different species of fungal spores.  So far, no late blight spores have been detected.  Early blight (Alternaria solani), Brown Spot (Alternaria alternata) and Grey Mould (Bortrytis cinerea) spores have been detected at multiple locations, but not in a large spike yet.

From the AirSpore test results so far, more spores of Brown Spot have been found than for Early Blight so far.  Growers are reminded that no all fungicides labelled for early blight are equally effective on brown spot; however, there are multiple products available that target both species of Alternaria.  There are a lot of fields with sufficient canopy to be applying first fungicide sprays right now.

For optimal prevention of early blight and brown spot, specialized fungicides should be applied before row closure to ensure good coverage on lower leaves, as early blight and brown spot usually starts on the lower leaves and moves up the plant.


Fast Emergence = Mineral Oils Required!

For seed growers…the rapid emergence and growth of many fields in the past couple of weeks means that oil applications to prevent PVY spread are essential.  Oil application should start as early as 25-30% emergence on seed fields and should be done often to keep up with the rapidly growing canopy.  Risk of PVY spread is greatest early in the season, and I’ve already seen PVY infected plants while scouting fields last week.  As well, the higher than normal number of volunteers around mean that PVY inoculum around the province is likely also higher than normal…so protect your seed early and often!


First Scouting Meeting – July 6th

Lorraine MacKinnon has organized the first fieldworkers meeting for Tuesday, July 6th starting at 7:30 am.  The meeting this week will be virtual, but we are hoping to have in-person or hybrid meetings starting soon.  Growers, scouts, agronomists, chemical reps, and researchers are all welcome to attend.

To join the meeting:

          Meeting ID: 614 719 9006
          Passcode: 7zTNng

          Or call in (audio only)

+1 902-201-4896,,330694981#   Canada, Charlottetown
Phone Conference ID: 330 694 981#

SpudChat this week:  Don Jardine

This week’s episode of SpudChat features Don Jardine of the UPEI Climate Lab, talking about the expanding network of weather stations that UPEI is installing across the province (with help with funds from ACOA) and their plans to share this data with the agriculture industry.  All of the growers I know love to talk about the weather, so a good episode to download.  Available at or wherever you download your podcasts.

Have a great weekend, everyone!