In Canada, the potato crop is progressing well across the province of Ontario. The harvest of early potatoes for the fresh market is expected to start by July 18 in southwestern Ontario, according to potato specialist Eugenia Banks’ latest update.
In the Simcoe-Delhi area, grower Joe Lach shared how the area has experienced timely, moderate rains. The plants in the area looked healthy with no indication of stress. The perfect temperatures and timely rains contrast the dry growing season experienced in some parts of Ontario last year. “[This year is the] best growing season I’ve experienced here in 40 years so far,” Lach added.
Despite adequate rainfall in the Alliston area, some fields have required irrigation. Banks shared how she did not find any insect pests while scouting the region, but did notice a field showing stress from the high heat and humidity.
In the Shelburne-Melancton area, the potato crop was younger and looked healthy. Banks said the challenge for the Alliston and Shelburne-Melancton areas will be the lack of rain by mid-summer and in August when the crop is in its bulking stage.
Pest watch - Colorado potato beetle
There have been no reports of Colorado potato beetle infestations in fields planted with treated seed. So far neonicotinoids are working well, but Banks advises growers with early planted fields to closely monitor the situation. The activity of neonicotinoids starts to break down approximately 60 days after seed treatment.
Growers are also advised to keep an eye out for European corn borer. Potatoes are the next preferred host for the pest when corn is late, and in Ontario the corn season got off to a late start because of cool, wet weather. Therefore the delayed corn season could see a rise in the risk of European corn borer for Ontario’s potato crop.