The weather has not been good for the Prince Edward Island potato farmers "It is hot and dry," said Greg Donald, general manager of the P.E.I. Potato Board. "The growers are very concerned right now but we're hopeful if we get rain real soon here we'll be OK."
The Island has seen two heat waves in the last week, and the dry spell goes back to the beginning of April.
Since April 1, rainfall in Charlottetown is less than half of normal. In Summerside it's only about a third. The situation is slightly better in the east, with rainfall at St. Peters about 60 per cent of normal. The latest Canadian Drought Monitor map, dated May 31, showed moderate drought for most of P.E.I. and there's been no significant rainfall since then.
"Right now, we're OK, it's deep roots, they're eternal optimists," Donald told potatoesincanada.com. "If we get a rain here, a good rain, like 25 millimetres or something would be ideal, over a day or two to let it soak in, we'd be in really good shape."
Ontario tuber size is good so far
According to Ontario potato specialist Eugenia Banks’ June 25 update, potato fields across Ontario are at different growth stages ranging from flowering and bulking in southwestern Ontario to still emerging in Shelburne-Melancthon. Most of the fields in central Ontario that were planted in early May are filling the rows, and Banks says tuber size is good so far.
Banks shares she noticed leaf burning caused by heat and excessive evapotranspiration, but for growers not to worry because plants overgrow these leaf burning lesions.
Poor potato emergence was noticeable in a few fields. Banks suggests that possible causes of poor emergence are crusted soil, differences seed vigour, cold temperatures and frost damage. In mid-May parts of Ontario saw temperatures drop below freezing on some nights, prompting frost concerns for many vegetable farmers.