Agronomy Update – Sept 22

Hi everyone,

While we were fortunate to only get around an inch of rain across the Island from Hurricane Lee…the rain before and after that has made for very saturated conditions across the province.  That has been compounded by a cooler week without the forecast sunny conditions and more showers.  We need a good stretch of sunny, dry weather to get fields into condition for harvest.

Getting lots of reports about finding rotten potatoes in test digs and wondering what to do about it.  A few thoughts:

  • Hopefully a lot of the potatoes that are rotten today will break down by the time you dig them. Many of them that were compromised in the heavy rains of the last 2 weeks will bread down before you get them to the storage if digging in 2-3 weeks time. If you’re digging next week…they will be more of an issue.
  • Where possible, put more people on the bin pilers going into storage. I know everyone is short on help, but that would be a good place to locate any extra bodies this fall.
  • Dig any spots where you have observed standing water at any point this season last, if at all. This includes obvious wet spots, areas next to grassed waterways, sprayer tracks, etc.  Be liberal with where you place your flags…the compromised potatoes are probably further in the field than you think.
  • Be prepared to get your pile dried down quickly to eliminate the free moisture that will undoubtedly come with potatoes breaking down. For some helpful discussion on early season storage management, please watch the video presentation by Dr. Nora Olsen from the University of Idaho that I shared last week.
  • Where possible, aim for pulp temperatures between 8 and 18 degrees C. Higher than 18C presents risks for getting your storage cooled down and fostering growth of soft rot diseases.
  • I highly recommend that growers do multiple test digs in each field before taking equipment to the field. Understand what you might be facing in those fields in order to prioritize the fields that will give you the fewer problems going into storage.  Leave the fields with the most rot to later…hopefully some of that rot will resolve itself by the time you get them.   Your best condition potatoes should be in the back of your bins.


Pest/Disease Update:

Late Blight:  No late blight spores were detected under the Spornado system.  I have not received any samples this week from the Airspore program…I believe that it has concluded for the year.  Next week will be our final week for Spornado for 2023.

Aphids:   Aphid Alert ended last week.  Last week had the highest recorded aphid numbers of the whole season, with more than 40 green peach aphids per trap last week.  Numbers were highest in the west of the province, but did increase to double digits in traps in the rest of the province.  I hope that almost all seed acres are now top-killed.


CleanFarms Collection:

CleanFarms is doing collection of the following in PEI between Oct 30th and Nov 10th:

  • Seed, pesticide and inoculant bags and large tote bags
  • Containers up to 23L
  • Totes and drums
  • Unwanted pesticides and livestock medications

A list of drop off locations is available on their website at

Have a great weekend…hopefully we get a bunch more days like today in the next few weeks.