Agronomy Updates – Aug 2

Good morning everyone,

I’m just back from PAA meetings in Manitoba, so I haven’t been out in fields the last week; therefore, this agronomy update will be a little shorter than most.  That being said, it doesn’t require spending time in fields to know that the crop is now suffering from the lack of rain and the hot weather this week, particularly with the winds that accompanied those high temps.  Some people were fortunate to get 5-8 mm out of the thunderstorms on Wednesday evening (mostly in the west) but it sounds like most areas missing that rain.  Here’s hoping that the currently forecast 1-3 mm on Saturday night turns into much more than that and that everyone shares in the rain.  The one saving grace over last year is that more fields than last year have achieved full row closure, which makes a huge difference in maintaining moisture and lower temperatures in the hills.  Once again, we are seeing weather that exemplifies the need for greater soil organic matter and improved soil structure in order to hold more moisture for these times of deficit.

Speaking of the PAA meetings, I will be doing up some notes on some of the most relevant presentations from those meetings.  I’ll have those notes available later next week.  Morgan and I were also able to get out on two crop tours, where we were able to view some potato trials and see the potato crop.  It looks like Manitoba is on track for a strong potato crop if they have a good rest of the growing season.  Most other areas reported that they are only expecting an average crop.  Maine and Wisconsin reps were anticipating a slightly lower than average crop, but a lot will depend on the rest of the growing season.

Sustainability Summer Socials – Next Week

By now, everyone should have seen the notices for the Summer Socials being held next week across the province.  I’ve attached a copy of the flyer for those that may have missed it.  Dates and locations:

Tuesday, Aug 6:  Elite Seed Farm, Fox Island
Wednesday, Aug 7:  R&L Farms, Kinkora (Roberts Farm)
Thursday, Aug 8:  Townshend Potato Co, Rollo Bay East

At each event, we’ll be starting with some short presentations on cover cropping, soil conservation, and tree planting programs.  This will be followed by a BBQ and social time.  I look forward to seeing you at one of the meetings!

Spore Trapping Update

Here are the spore trapping results for Alternaria as of Wednesday, July 31st:

Community July 26 July 29 July 31
Elmsdale/Alma 13 4 133
O’Leary 9 4 53
Tyne Valley 0 18 9
Evangeline 0 13 4
Summerside 0 9 4
Kinkora 0 0 31
New Glasgow/Rustico 13 31 18
York 9 4 31
Meadowbank 0 191 0
Souris 36 4
Dundas 0 18

As we get into hot, dry weather, we would expect spore levels to rise.  Numbers are starting to spike in West Prince, and I would expect them to increase in the rest of the province soon.  Recent early blight numbers in NB and Maine are low.

No late blight spores have been detected in PEI, NB, or Maine.  Spores were detected in Quebec, and the disease was detected on plants in Pennsylvania.  All bortrytis counts were also zero for PEI in the most recent tests.

If you see foliar symptoms of early blight/brown spot, it would be worth it to take a sample and send it in for confirmation.  Your choice of fungicide for Alternaria may change whether you are dealing with early blight or brown spot.  If dealing with brown spot, your choices are more restricted.  Currently registered fungicides for brown spot are Luna Tranquility, Quadris Top, and Aprovia Top, along with cholorthanonil products (Bravo/Echo).  That being said, do not rely on contact fungicides like mancozeb and chlorothanonil to control early blight and brown spot, particularly in susceptible varieties.

I hope that by the next time I have an update to send that you will all have received some much needed rain.  Fingers crossed.  As always, feel free to contact me with questions or comments, and I hope to see most of you next week at one of the Summer Socials.