Agronomy Update – October 27

Good morning everyone,

As of this morning, it sounds like harvest is more than 95% done, which is great.  There are some farms still picking away at acres as they make storage arrangements or ship out some earlier dug potatoes.  For the most part, I’m hearing from growers that quality is pretty good and that rot issues are generally not as widespread as first feared.  There are still some problem spots here and there, but I think that growers were very proactive in avoiding problem areas, grading out rotten tubers and being attentive to storage conditions.


Lots of Cover Crops!

As I travel the countryside over the last few weeks, I see a lot of fields greening up with cover crops.  Great to see!  Temperatures and sunshine hours have been great this fall for getting strong cover crop establishment.  Morgan is out checking our cover crop trial fields on a weekly basis to track percentage of cover, erosion control metrics, and nitrate interception.  We’ll have more to share on that this winter…stay tuned for updates.  We did see some delayed emergence in fields where barley or oats were broadcast after tillage due to a lack of rainfall in early October.  With some recent rains, some of those covers are starting to grow, but the biomass will be lower as a result.


SHIP for Growers Planning to Apply for Water Permits

Many of you will have seen some recent communications regarding the new Soil Health Improvement Plans (SHIP) program which has been launched for farms applying for new water permits.  If you are planning to apply for well or surface water permits for the 2022 growing season, you may need to get your SHIP completed this fall.

Soil Health Improvement Plans (SHIP) will be required for irrigated fields in 2022 before you will be issued a Water Withdrawal Permit for any of the following:

  • Surface water permits (for 5-year permits only, a 1-year permit will be issued in 2022 without a SHIP)
  • New high capacity wells (including research wells)
  • New low capacity wells requiring a permit under the Water Act

Soil Health Testing results will be needed to get started on SHIP development; soil samples should be collected and submitted this fall to develop a SHIP by spring.  For more information on SHIP, contact PEI Department of Agriculture and Land’s Soil and Water Specialists, Tobin Stetson, 902-314-0783, or Tyler Wright, 902-314-0789.

An overview of SHIP from the PEIDAL is available here (PDF).


Looking Ahead to Meeting Season

“Meeting Season” will be upon us soon, and hopefully things will be a bit more back to normal this winter, as vaccination rates and the use of the Vax Pass are high in PEI.  Once again, we’ll be hosting a series of regional AIM workshops that all growers and AIM partners are invited to attend.  As well…if you have interested staff or advisors that you think would be interested in attending, please encourage them to do so.  Stay tuned for more info on dates and speakers to be shared soon.

If you have ideas for speakers or topics that you would like to see covered at conferences and workshops this winter, please feel free to give me a call or shoot me an email.  Between AIM workshops, the conference at the Potato Expo, PEI Soil & Crop, and webinars, there are lots of options to cover a range of topics.


Potato Early Dying – Fall Survey:

I am still looking for fields for our annual Verticillium and Nematode survey, which we will be completing in the next couple of weeks.  Specifically, I’m looking for fields that are destined to be planted to Russet Burbanks or a similarly PED susceptible variety in 2022.  You get a free Vert & Nematode test on your field this fall.  We then do follow up testing in 8 of these fields next year as part of an effort to benchmark yields with levels of Verticillium and nematodes in fields (and levels of observed disease).  If you have a field to contribute, please let me know ASAP.

Have a great rest of the week,