Agronomy Update – June 13

Hi everyone,

It’s still lots dry in most parts of the province, though a few communities got some surprise and welcome rainfalls the first half of this week.  In looking at rainfall totals from June 1st to today, the range across the province is 20-45 mm, with a small area around Kensington getting an inch of rain in an hour yesterday.  Here’s hoping that the 15-20 mm currently forecast for Saturday actually comes and is widespread.

Bethany and I are down finishing up the last bit of soil sampling and trial set-up for this year’s research trials.  A big thank you to the growers who participate in these trials with us, especially working us into your schedules in a very busy time of year.  We have a total of 38 field trials this year across all programs, including fields in potatoes or another phase of rotation.  This includes trials under AIM, Living Labs, the National Potato Cluster with FVGC, and ECODA.  I look forward to sharing results and learnings from these projects with you as we move forward.

A couple of quick things to note from my travels and conversations with growers recently:

  • I am seeing some volunteers that survived the winter in a few of last year’s potato fields.  If these are fields that have not yet been seeded, I would strongly recommend spraying with glyphosate (Round-Up) before you seed.  While it may not fully kill volunteers, it will hopefully prevent development of viable tubers to prevent a multi-year problem.  Some volunteers are already at tuber initiation already.
  • Weeds are off to a quick start this year, given the fact that lack of rain has made pre-emerge herbicides less effective or delayed in application.  For some acres, re-hilling before herbicide application may be required to stay on top of lambs quarters and wild buckwheat.
  • There are a lot more producers growing alfalfa in their rotations instead of double cut red clover in the last couple of years.  MCPA is generally a bit too harsh on alfalfa and will kill a lot of your underseed.  Embutox/Cobutox will generally be softer on an alfalfa underseed but still help manage weeds.


Scouting and IPM Clinic – June 20th

The PEI Dept of Agriculture and PEI Potato Board are hosting a potato scouting and IPM clinic on Thursday, June 20th at the Emerald Community Centre.  Registration opens at 8:30, with the clinic finishing at 3:00 pm.  Pre-registration is required.  Cost is $30 (including lunch), paid by cash at the door.  To register, please call (902) 314-0388 or email by June 18th.


Atlantic Grains Council – Yield Enhancement Network (YEN)

The Atlantic Grains Council is looking for growers who are interested in entering grain fields in the 2024 YEN Program.  This is a great opportunity to learn from other growers and see what others are doing for their cereal and soybean crops.  There is no cost, and limited effort required on the part of the grower.  Once a field is entered in the YEN Program, it will be monitored throughout the season, and soil and grain samples will be collected at harvest.  Growers are expected to obtain crop weights from the field (or provide estimates).  A detailed report will be provided after the season is over, and growers will be able to participate in a wrap-up session to hear what worked and what didn’t.  Crops include spring wheat, winter wheat, barley, oats and soybean.  Registration will be limited to one field per crop per grower and registration deadline is July 15.  If you are interested in hearing more about the YEN Program or in registering a field, contact Steve Howatt at 902-394-0645 or at


Next Wednesday, I am headed to the World Potato Congress in Adelaide, Australia and won’t be back in PEI until the first of July.  I’ve been asked to speak about regenerative agriculture research and practices in potatoes, and I’m happy to be sharing some success stories from the trials and agronomy projects that I’ve been collaborating on with growers and industry partners over the last few years.  I look forward to sharing how PEI potato growers are ahead of the curve on “regen ag” as well as hopefully bringing home new ideas for us to explore in the future.  As such, there won’t be an agronomy update next week.

Aphid Alert is on track to start collections the week of June 24th and I will have results to send out as soon as I return.  Spornado spore collection starts July 2nd.