Agronomy Update – July 7th

Hi everyone,

A return to some warm weather after a cool, wet weekend…but no one was complaining about the rain! Thankfully, Sunday was a day of rain that pretty much everyone received for a change. Soil moisture levels appear to be good across the province, with the forecast calling for more rain on Friday/Saturday as part of the tail-end of Hurricane Elsa. The Soiltech sensors that I have placed in two different fields in Central PEI are all reading between 25 and 28% volumetric soil moisture at the root zone, which is great.

Spore Collection Update:

As noted in my last update, we have started a 10 week program with Sporometrics to do once a week sampling from 8 sites across the province. These samples were collected on Monday, after being in the field since Monday and Tuesday last week. I’m happy to report that all samples were negative for late blight. In addition, another PEI farm that is sharing their Spornado results with us also report four negative samples.

All late blight samples from the Airspore sampling locations also have come back zero, with the latest results received on Tuesday. The most recent results for Alternaria are also much lower the start of this week, likely due in part to the weather over the weekend not being conducive to Alternaria growth. There was a bit of a spike in Alternaria spores in the Summerside/Kensington region last week, so those with susceptible varieties should pay particular attention to their fields and spray programs this week.

SpudChat: Scouting Meeting Recap

For this week’s episode of SpudChat, we do a recap of what we heard at the biweekly scouting meeting yesterday. Joining me for the chat was Lorraine MacKinnon with the PEIDAL, Steve Watts of Genesis Crop Systems, and Greg Donald. It provides a good overview of what is being seen in fields around the Island. We talk about European corn borer, weeds, emergence, and more. SpudChat is available at or anywhere you access podcasts.

All growers, scouts, agronomists and industry partners are encouraged to join the biweekly scouting meetings every 2nd Tuesday. They are a great opportunity to hear what the crop is looking like across the province and compare notes with colleagues. It is hoped that future meetings will return to an in-person setup.

Notes on Soil Building Crops

• For those who are growing mustard and who planted mustard in early to mid May…that mustard is likely ready for incorporation. A reminder to incorporate mustard before it goes to seed at peak flower. In PEI, this usually only takes about 7 weeks.

• I’ve had a few questions about sudangrass and pearl millet and whether it is too late to sow those crops. It isn’t…but I would advise getting them planted ASAP. As there is adequate soil moisture for emergence right now, I would advise not planting these crops very deep to aid in fast emergence and growth. The value in these crops is maximizing root biomass, so getting them established quickly is key. Thankfully, the soil conditions and weather should make this possible. Most literature sources don’t recommend establishing sorghum sudangrass or forage pearl millet after the end of July.

• Seeing lots of tremendous regrowth in forage stands this year, particularly alfalfa. For those mulching forage crops and not taking hay/silage crops off, you may want to mow more often so that a heavy window won’t limit regrowth. Keeping your forage crops green and growing as long as possible is what builds soil organic matter and fosters the biological communities in your soil. Also, regrowing alfalfa continues to deepen its roots, which helps with soil compaction.

Have a great rest of the week, and please feel free to reach out with any questions or to schedule a farm visit.