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Ontario Crop and Insect Update

The harvest of early potatoes for the fresh market should start by July 18 in Southwestern Ontario. So far, dig tests have shown excellent quality. One of the highlights of summer is to enjoy new potatoes in all their glory!

Excellent quality is also expected in the Simcoe area. “The area continues to have timely rains in the right amount. With perfect temperatures, plants look healthy and strong with no indication of stress,” said Joe Lach. “Best growing season I’ve experienced here in 40 years so far,” he added.

In the Alliston area, Bill Vasily reported that “there are solid fields with rows closed and beginning to flower.” The majority of these are the earliest planted fields.  Bill has a couple of spotty fields that were planted late.  He expects weed problems in both of them, especially ragweed.

Rainfall has been adequate in the Alliston area, but some fields have required irrigation.  I did not find any insect pests when scouting fields yesterday. There was one field near a high traffic road showing signs of stress due to the heat and humidity.

In the Shelburne-Melancton area, the crop is younger and looks healthy.  The challenge for the Alliston and Shelburne-Melancton areas is the lack of rain by mid-summer and in August when the crop is bulking.

Neonicotinoids are working well, so far.  There have been no reports yet of Colorado potato beetle infestations in fields planted with treated seed.  Early planted fields should be monitored closely as the activity of neonics starts to break down about 60 days after seed treatment.

Keep an eye out for the European corn borer.  Potatoes are a preferred host when corn is late.

Armyworms are a nuisance in potatoes.  The larvae invade potato fields when looking for cereal hosts; this may be an armyworm year.

Black cutworm is another pest to scout for. Look for shotgun holes in leaves. The second generation larvae are active from mid-July until August. The large instars of this second generation chew holes in tubers.

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