Agronomy Updates – July 24th

Hello growers and industry partners,

Unfortunately, it appears that we didn’t get as much rain yesterday (Tuesday) as hoped.  As of 8 am today, West Prince stations were registering less than 1 mm, central PEI stations between 1 and 5 mm, and eastern PEI stations with between 6 and 10 mm in the last 24 hours.  Thankfully, many growers have been reporting to me that they don’t feel that the crop is water-stressed and that the earlier planted fields are largely getting rows closed in, which enables soil moisture to be retained longer.  Last year, the fact that a number of fields never properly closed in rows made July/August low rainfall totals even more painful.

The long range forecast doesn’t appear to hold much rain for the next 7 days, but hopefully current soil moisture levels are sufficient to keep the plants humming along to take advantage of the sun and moderate temperatures for the next week.  For those with access to supplemental irrigation, keeping good soil moisture levels is key now as we get into tuber initiation for prevention of common scab and sugar/dark ends.  Fingers crossed that we get some decent moisture next week to keep things going in the right direction.

Summer Grower Socials – August 6th, 7th, 8th

The PEI Potato Board is going to be hosting a series of Summer Socials on August 6-8th at three different Island farms.  All growers and industry partners are welcome to attend to come out for a largely social atmosphere along with sharing some timely information.  At each of the socials there will be a free BBQ, as well as some discussions about cover cropping and soil conservation practices ahead of the late summer/fall land preparation period.  A full announcement will be going out later in the week, but please take note of the following dates and times:

Tuesday, August 6th (2-5 pm):   Hosted by the Elite Seed Farm, Fox Island.  Includes a tour of the Seed Farm and BBQ.

Wednesday, August 7th (2-5 pm):  Hosted by R&L Farms, 5529 Route 225 (Roberts Farm, Kinkora Hwy).  Includes a viewing of the Roberts Family Antique Farm Equipment collection and BBQ.

Thursday, August 8th (2-5 pm):  Hosted by Townshend Potato Company, 74 St Charles Road in Rollo Bay.  Includes BBQ at home of Peter & Lynn Townshend.

More details to follow!

Spore Trapping Update – July 23rd

Alternaria solani/alternata spore results from recent spore trapping across PEI:

Location July 17 July 19 July 22
Elmsdale/Alma 18 0 N/A
O’Leary 22 13 0
Tyne Valley 9 0 0
Evangeline 0 9 4
Summerside 0 111 0
Kinkora 13 0 N/A
Rustico/New Glasgow 9 4 N/A
Meadowbank 0 40 4
York 4 0 N/A
Dundas 9 4 N/A
Souris 13 0 18
East Point 0 0 4

All samples for late blight, grey mold, and fusarium were negative.

From this pattern, it appears that the “early peak” in early blight/brown spot may have already occurred, but there are still spores present in some locations.  Reports from NB and Maine also indicate that early blight spore levels there are zero or very low, indicating that they also have passed their early peak in spores.

Once again, it is recommended to get a suitable fungicide targeting early blight and brown spot on the lower leaves, particularly for susceptible varieties.  We’ll keep you up to date on future spore totals.

Regarding late blight…it has been reported in the last week in:
– Wisconsin – foliar infection
– Quebec – spores collected
– NY/PA (near Erie, PA) – foliar infection, strain US-23

According to the Akker Web Blight App (under evaluation through AIM), the next 7 days looks good for minimal risk of late blight infection events, but ensure that in this time of rapid foliar growth that you have sufficient protective fungicides applied!

Seed Producers – Keep Up the Oil Applications

Speaking of rapid foliar growth…it’s an essential time for seed growers to keep on top of oil applications to protect their crop from PVY infection.  Research from Dr. Mathuresh Singh and his team in New Brunswick has shown that a good oil application program is essential to preventing PVY spread, particularly early in the season when new leaves are being created every day.  Mineral oil interferes with the ability of aphids to spread PVY to uninfected plants, but it must be applied regularly during this rapid growth phase to ensure leaves have sufficient oil absorbed to prevent transmission.  Aphids are being found across the province, with some individual traps having 10 or more aphids.  Bird Cherry Oat aphids have been found, and they are a known vector for PVY.  Average aphid numbers last week were 2.3 aphids per trap.

Weather Cloud Access – No Login Required

Some people were getting a screen asking for a username and password to access the PEIDAL WeatherCloud site from the link I shared last week.  Just to confirm, there is no login necessary to access this site.  If you get directed to a login screen, make sure that the address in your browser is simply

I will be away the end of this week (Thursday/Friday), and then Morgan and I will be attending the Potato Association of America meetings next week in Winnipeg, Manitoba.  We will be sure to share any interesting news on potato research and extension from PAA upon our return.

Have a great rest of the week!