Potatoes in Canada

Crop Watch News Planting
OPB’s Eugenia Banks provides early season crop update


May 26, 2021
By Potatoes in Canada

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The 2021 growing season is well underway in Ontario, as shown through a series of updates from Eugenia Banks, potato consultant with the Ontario Potato Board (OPB):

  • The OPB application to predict the occurrence of late blight using spore traps was approved in early May by the Ontario Agri-Food Research Initiative program. This year, spores will be tested to determine the strain of late blight as well. The 2021 late blight project will monitor three spore traps in Simcoe County and three in Dufferin County, with filters retrieved twice weekly and sent to a lab for PCR analysis throughout the season.

Late blight sporulating on potato plant leaves. Photo courtesy of Eugenia Banks.

One of the spore traps set up by the Ontario Potato Board for the late blight project. Photo courtesy of Eugenia Banks.

  • As of May 20, Banks had completed planting the 2021 potato variety trials. The new varieties will be evaluated for common scab resistance/susceptibility, which Banks says is very important information for fresh market growers. Also, according to Kevin Brubacher, OPB general manager, and Mark VanOostrum, supply manager for W.D. Potato Ltd., about 80 per cent of the Ontario potato crop was planted as of May 21. Producers are hoping for rain.

Healthy spud sprouts. Photo courtesy of Eugenia Banks.

  • Fields in Simcoe County were hit by frost each night for a week in mid-May; while the potato plants are recovering, according to potato farmer Chuck Emre (, the area needs rain to improve the situation.

Potato plants repeatedly hit with frost on Chuck Emre’s farm in Simcoe County, Ont. Photo by Eugenia Banks.

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