Agronomy Updates – August 9th

Hello everyone,

Well, that was some welcome rain last night.  Not enough, but a good start.  It looks like Prince County generally got the most (between 6-10 mm) while Queens and Kings got a bit less (between 4-6 mm).  There are some showers in the forecast later today and through the weekend…here’s hoping they arrive and exceed expectations.

The potato crop has been holding on relatively well despite the dry weather.  Some fields looked a bit more stressed than others, and some fields are starting to see early dying symptoms, particularly in early varieties like Superior.  Where rows have closed in and plants are at full canopy the crop looks the best, obviously.

In looking at the July rainfall in PEI, this table tells the picture pretty succinctly:

Table 1: Rainfall and growing degree day information for July 2019

Rainfall (mm)
Rainfall (mm)
2019 Accum
Historical Accumulated GDD Difference
West 62.3 96 -33.7 422.1 420 +2.1
Summerside 26.6 74.1 -47.5 399 424 -25
Charlottetown 34.5 79.9 -45.4 425.5 417 +8.5
Souris/East 49.4 86.6 -37.2 407.6 435 -27.4

Sustainability Summer Socials

Thank you to those that attended one of our three Sustainability Summer Socials this week.

For those unable to attend, here are some links to relevant info that was shared at these events.

Fall Cover Cropping:  Handout (PDF) and Article (PDF)

Tree Planting ProgramsHandout (PDF)

Agriculture Stewardship Program:   New application intake date of Tuesday, September 17th.  For more information, contact or call Darcee at (902) 894-0340.  Soil Conservation Specialists are available free of charge to consult on how to prevent soil erosion on your farm.  Also, the PEIDAL has developed a new app in ArcGIS for showing watercourses, buffer zones, and high slope land…check it out and bookmark it on your phone/computer.

Spore Trapping Update

Here are the spore trapping results for Alternaria as of Wednesday, August 7th:

Community Aug 2 Aug 5 Aug 7
Elmsdale/Alma 9 76 4
O’Leary 0 27 0
Tyne Valley 18 0 0
Evangeline 0 0 0
Summerside 4 0 0
Kinkora 0 80 13
New Glasgow/Rustico 44 9 0
York 9 0 0
Meadowbank 49 0 0
Souris 4 0 4
Dundas 0 18 4

There were no late blight spores detected in any PEI spore traps so far this season.  There were some Bortrytis spores (grey mold) detected recently in certain traps, but at very low numbers.

Alternaria spore numbers are generally quite low at the moment.  I haven’t been hearing too much from growers about early blight or brown spot being particularly bad, but I think that is due to good management and getting effective protective fungicides on at the right time (before row closure).

Upcoming Events

Fieldworkers Meeting – Tuesday, Aug 13th – 3 pm, PEI Potato Board

Precision Agriculture Conference – Thursday, Aug 22nd – UPEI

I hope that additional rain develops for everyone and that we can set ourselves up for a good harvest.  There is still significant potential in the crop, provided that we get caught up on rain.  The forecast for the next two weeks does not look overly hot and there is some possible rain forecast for next weekend.  I am hearing variable reports on tuber set…I’ve heard reports of above average as much as I’ve heard of below average set.  As we move into tuber bulking, let’s hope that we get enough moisture to keep the crop on track.