Agronomy Update – June 28

Hi everyone.  We’re into another week of broken weather, with some parts of the Island (ie. West Prince) getting a bunch of extra rainfall over the weekend and early this week, while others are just getting a few isolated showers.

I’ve been checking in with growers across the province, and I’ve not hearing too many issues with set rot or uneven emergence.  Emergence would generally be described as slow in many fields, but they are finally emerging.  I dug up a few sets today that had not emerged yet, and they were still solid and with roots and shoots coming…just not through the ground yet.  Hopefully some consistently higher temperatures in the near future will allow plants to catch up and get going.

There are some fields where folks are having to work hard to stay ahead of weeds.  Be sure to read your labels carefully, get the rates and timing right, and ensure you have the tank properly cleaned if you were using glyphosate for any other crops!

Seed Growers:  Be diligent with oil and aphicide sprays soon after emergence.  There is going to be a very high amount of PVY inoculum around this year, so keeping those newly emerged plants protected is key to prevent early season virus spread.  Aphid alert sampling has starting…we’ll share results when they become available.


First Potato Crop Update Meeting – Tuesday, July 4th

The first Potato Crop Update Meeting of the year will be held on Tuesday, July 4th starting at 7:30 am at the Agriculture Insurance Corp. Boardroom in Kensington (7 Gerald McCarville Dr).  You are welcome to join in-person or virtually (Teams details below).

These meetings are a great opportunity to hear from other growers, scouts, agronomists, and researchers on what they are seeing in the fields and discuss the progress of the crop.  All are welcome to attend.  We will try and keep the meeting under an hour so folks can get back out to the field and on with their day.  We’ll also be interested to hear your feedback on these meetings and how we can best gather and share information through the season.  Coffee and snacks will be provided, courtesy of Bayer CropScience (Graham Kempton).


Microsoft Teams meeting:  Join on your computer, mobile app or room device
Click here to join the meeting
Meeting ID: 234 351 132 67    Passcode: LFhKw4
Download Teams | Join on the web
Or call in (audio only)
+1 902-201-4896,,754542185#   Canada, Charlottetown
Phone Conference ID: 754 542 185#

Pest Control Guide

I’ve had a few people asking me about new pest control products and where to get a list of available products.  The PEI Dept of Agriculture has not updated their pest control guide in a couple of years.  As a partial replacement, you can find here a copy of the potato pest control guide that County Guide has prepared for 2023.  It provides a good overview of products labelled for potatoes in Canada.  A couple things to keep in mind:

  • This guide does not include rates, any information on handling or usage precautions, or plant-back considerations. As with any product, please read the label before use.
  • This guide may include products without MRLs or that aren’t on an approved list for you customer. Consult with your customers to ensure that a product has the green light before use.


Spore Trapping Update:

I’ve been on the road the last two days installing late blight spore traps as part of our early warning network.  We’ll be collecting spore trap samples on Tuesdays, with results available Wed or Thurs.  We’ve expanded the network to 12 sites across the Island this year, with help from the PEI Agri-Watershed Partnership and individual watershed groups in funding the program and helping to collect some of the weekly samples.  First collection is next week, so I expect to have results to share in my next agronomy update.


Planting Warm-Season Forages:

With the weather forecast looking like temperatures hovering around 20 degrees for the next week and night time temperatures now consistently staying over 10 degrees, we should be looking at a good window for planting warm-season forages like sudangrass and pearl millet in the next week or so.  Getting crops established at the ideal time is essential to getting ahead of weeds, as well as maximizing the amount of time you have a cover crop growing.

A couple of things to remember when it comes to planting these types of crops:

  • I know that seed is expensive, but don’t skimp too much on the seeding rate.  Reducing the seeding rate too much provides even more opportunity for weeds to establish. Sorghum sudangrass rates (not underseeded) are usually in the 30-35 lbs/ac range.  Canada Forage Pearl Millet is a bit smaller seed, so it should be 12-15 lbs/ac.  If mixing the two, balance accordingly.
  • Ensure you have enough fertility to get these grasses up and out of the ground fast.  Treat your soil-building cover crops like a cash crop if you want to maximize the value these crops will make to your fields.  That being said…only apply what you need.  For many fields, you may only need to apply nitrogen and sulphur if fields are already good for P and K.
  • You can undo any of the value that these crops provide in terms of building soil organic matter through additional tillage.  Try and minimize tillage as much as possible.  Sudangrass and pearl millet are not frost tolerant and winter kill easily.  I would recommend not tilling/ploughing these crops in the fall unless you are planting a cover crop. I know that some growers have successfully included a small amount of oilseed radish or other brassica species (ie. kale) with their sudangrass/pearl millet.  This will then stay green in the fall when the grasses are taken out by the frost.
  • After the first mowing of sudangrass or forage pearl millet, the root mass should more than double.  It is from the root mass that you build soil structure and soil organic matter, so a timely mowing of these crops is highly recommended.  That being said, it’s not necessary to continually mow as long as the crop stays green and vegetative.  Save your fuel! Also make sure you leave at least 6-8 inches of stubble height for the crop to regrow.  Mowing too low will result in poor regrowth.



Between June 15 and August 31, anyone with a cull potato pile requires a permit under the Potatoes Regulations.  This includes livestock farmers who have taken possession of cull potatoes for feed.

The Dept of Agriculture and Land now has a Cull Potato Holding Permits information page and a fillable pdf application on the website.  The website also includes a list of best management practices for holding cull potatoes.

For more info, contact:

Department of Agriculture & Land

Regulatory Services



PAA Meeting – Industry Day – July 24th

The Potato Association of America is meeting in Charlottetown from July 24th to 27th for their annual meeting, which includes a number of presentations by potato researchers from across North American and beyond, as well as social events and award presentations.

On Monday, July 24th, the organizing committee has designated this as “Industry Day,” featuring concurrent sessions with a grower-oriented focus as well as an afternoon symposium on the topic of soil health in potato production.  This would be a great opportunity for interested growers, agronomists, and other industry partners to hear about some of the latest advances in potato research as well as interact with potato folks from all sectors of the industry.

There is a special one-day registration rate of $100 for those interested in attending Monday.  This includes breakfast, lunch, and two breaks.  To register, visit and click Registration.  There are additional registration options for those interested in attending more of the meeting.  The full scientific agenda will be available ASAP.


Have a great rest of the week and Canada Day weekend!