Agronomy Update – Sept 23

Hi everyone,

I’ll keep this update short and sweet, as everyone is busy either starting harvest or getting ready for harvest.  Just a few things that have come up in conversations with growers over the past week that might be good to touch on.

  1. We’re probably too late to plant brassica crops (radish, mustard) as fall cover crops now. Better to keep that seed in the shed and transition to cereals.
  2. When thinking about rate for cereals as fall covers…it depends on whether you are broadcasting it, rolling it, doing light tillage after broadcast, or drilling it. If you are doing any tillage after broadcast spreading, you’ll likely need to up the rate.  It also depends on the species (rye, barley, oats, wheat), of course.  Finally, up the rate a bit as we get later in the season by about 10 lbs/acre per week.After October 5th, spring cereals will start running out of time for establishment, so think about switching to winter species (rye, wheat).  Then it will depend on what type of weather we get in October to dictate how late you can go, but most years you’ll still get establishment on fall rye up to Oct 15.
  3. Getting lots of questions about whether I’m seeing much in the way of soft rot or water soak in potatoes from early digs. So far I haven’t seen much personally, but I have been hearing that there are definitely some problem areas.  I think a lot of growers have already marked out those problem areas and are making plans for them, whether that be temporary storage, sending them straight to the plant, or not digging them until the end (if at all).  I had one person mention that they are seeing value in having someone follow behind the windrower in suspect parts of the field to look for obvious signs of issues to decide what happens with those spuds.
  4. If you have concerns about pink rot, a post-harvest application of phosphorus acid (Confine/Phostrol) going into storage is a good option. If you are more concerned about Fusarium dry rot or silver scurf, possibly on a more susceptible variety, this might be the year to consider Stadium as a post-harvest treatment (not for seed potatoes).
  5. Morgan and I (plus a variety of great collaborators) started harvest samples yesterday. We’re putting together our harvest plan for the next month or so, as we have 43 different trial fields to harvest this fall.  We’ll be in touch with all trial farms (if we haven’t already) to see where fields fit in the harvest plan.If you have a trial with us and plans need to change in terms of when that field gets dug, please let us know as soon as you can so we can try and get in there ASAP to get that data captured!
  6. In this incredibly busy time, please take the time to ensure that you and your staff are taking all of the necessary steps to work safely. Take all of the necessary precautions to avoid injury, and also ensure that you are getting enough rest to ensure that fatigue and stress don’t lead to unfortunate decisions or consequences.


SpudChat this week:

This week, I talked with Dr. Judith Nyiraneza of AAFC in Charlottetown.  We talked about Living Labs, cover crops, building soil health, and opportunities to reduce phosphorus in potato rotations.  Available at or wherever you download your podcasts.

Enjoy the great weather and stay safe, everyone!


PS: Photo by Morgan of some big Prospects we dug yesterday!