Potatoes in Canada

Ontario growers struggle with wet conditions

In southwest and eastern parts of Ontario, growers struggle with on-going rainy weather and many of them expect to finish planting their potato crop by June 10, according to Ontario potato specialist Eugenia Banks.

May 30, 2019
By Potatoes in Canada
Potato progress across Ontario is mixed. This photo is from Cottam

Consistent cool, wet weather throughout April and May had delayed planting and brought up soil compaction concerns. However, recent warmer weather has allowed growers to start planting as the fields dry up. The Weather Network is continuing to predict similar warmer temperatures for the coming weeks.

Across the province there is a lot of variation with progress. Some growers are done, others are one-third to a half done, and others don’t expect to finish planting until beginning of June.

As of May 18, Bert Tupling estimated that only 10 per cent of the crop in the Shelburne-Melancthon area was planted. The area was too wet and cold but Tupling recalled a cold, wet spring in the 1980s where only a few acres were planted in May. At the time, the wet May was followed by two weeks of perfect weather which allowed growers to finish planting. The crop caught up eventually and potato quality was good at harvest. Banks shares his story because, “It is good to remember what has happened in the past under similar weather patterns.”

Cool weather favours the development of late blight. Banks says late blight spore traps will continue to be placed again this year to alert growers of the potential late blight risk.

In other areas of Ontario, potato crop is already progressing through the season. “After a slow emergence, potatoes in the Leamington area are growing fast, and best of all, they look healthy and vigorous,” wrote Banks in her latest potato update.