Agronomy Update – Nov 6

Good day growers and industry partners,

It sounds like everyone is finished up potato harvest and that the number of unharvested acres is quite low.  Generally it sounds like quality is decent, but for many, yields are definitely below average.  Quite a bit of room left in a lot of storages, unfortunately.

Morgan and I are almost finished our field season with respect to grower trials.  We have a little bit of work left to do with some of our Living Labs cover crop trials, but otherwise we have most of our data collected.  We’ll be working over the next couple of months to get all of that data back and start interpreting it in order to share results with you this winter.

The ongoing COVID pandemic will necessitate some changes in extension events this winter.  The Board and the Department of Agriculture will not be able to host an in-person Potato Conference like we did in 2019.  However, I am still planning to host local AIM meetings around the province during the winter like we’ve done the last few years.  I think it’s important to provide opportunities for growers to get together to hear from researchers, agronomists, or fellow growers on a variety of important topics.  Stay tuned for more info…I am hoping to hold our first local meetings in December.


Online Learning Opportunities this fall:

There will be a lot of opportunities for online learning this fall and winter.  In fact, some interesting webinars are coming up this month:

November 17:  Using SWAT Maps to produce the best potato crop.  Features Evan MacDonald of Cavendish Agri.  A number of Island farms have already used this service so far to map their fields.  If you’d like to learn more about the technology, attend this free webinar.  Register Here

November 26:  Wireworm Control On Your Farm.  Features Dr. Christine Noronha and Dr. Wim van Herk of AAFC talking about their research on wireworm as part of the National Potato Cluster, partially funded by PEI producers.  Webinar funded by the Canadian Potato Council.  Register Here

There is no cost to register for these webinars.  If you can’t tune in on the day, you will be sent a link to watch it afterward.  If you are able to tune in on the day, you’ll be able to ask questions to the presenters.


Linuron Re-Evaluation Completed:

Some good news… The PMRA has made a decision to maintain the use of linuron (Lorox) on potatoes (and also carrots, parsnips, asparagus) with the implementation of certain risk mitigation measures (e.g. adjustment of re-entry intervals, PPE, rates etc.). The details of the mitigation measures will be communicated when available. Uses that are to be discontinued include tree fruit, field and sweet corn, cereal crops.

This ensures that growers will continue to have a tool in their herbicide toolbox for pre-emergence control of weeds.  This re-evaluation was started in 2012 and is finally complete.


Interesting articles:

A few interesting articles or interviews I’ve come across in the last couple of weeks:

RealAgriculture Q&A with Dr. Mario Tenuta, University of Manitoba, on soil health, cover crops, and soil carbon (Video)

Improving Soil with Cover Cropping in Potatoes from North Dakota State University and USDA.  One page factsheet on the basics of cover cropping.

Registration Open for Virtual NPC Potato Expo 2021

Island Farms Deserve Better:  request from the PEI Federation of Agriculture for farmers to contact their MLAs regarding access to water for supplemental irrigation.  Our elected officials need to hear from all of us to let decision making be scientific and not political.  Island farm families need access to water NOW. Also feel free to share on your social media (Facebook, Twitter) if you use those platforms.

Emergence On Farm Support Fund:  You will have seen this sent around by the Board office already, but just reiterating that there is support from the provincial government to assist farms with investments needed on the farm to reduce the risk of COVID-19.  Click the link for details and contact Lorraine MacKinnon for more information.

Have a great weekend.  As always, please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have.