b"eyeSASKATCHEWAN looking healthy. Some areas have been quite dry over the past two weeks but anticipated rain in the forecast would provide some much-needed relief. Matthew E. Lawless, president of theNormally I would take this opportunity to invite you to our field events Saskatchewan Seed Potato Growerswhich usually take place throughout the summer. Unfortunately, due to the Association Inc. current situation we can confirm the Potato Research Field Day at the Elora The 2020 season has certainly been an interesting one so far for seed potatoResearch Centre has been cancelled. We have not made an official decision yet growers in Saskatchewan. At the end of February, most of our members hadregarding the Ontario Potato Field Day held at HJV Equipment in Alliston, Ont. their seed lots sold and were beginning to put shipping plans in place. By theHowever, with the current limitations on public gatherings in our province, it end of March, the massive downturn in global french fry sales led to volumeseems unlikely this event will take place. We are working towards some form decreases/contract cancellations for our growers with processing varieties,of a virtual field day in any case. Please feel free to reach out to the board particularly for Shepody and Russet Burbank varieties. Left with few options,office for details and dates as the summer progresses.our members were encouraged to destroy their surplus inventory. On the other hand, red and yellow seed sales increased to a point where our members were unable to meet the demand. Many customers, especially home gardeners look- MANITOBAing for red and specialty varieties, were turned away as supplies diminished.Seed shipping and planting, as always, were busy times for our members.Dan Sawatzky, general manager,This spring was noticeably cooler and wetter across Saskatchewan, and thisKeystone Potato Producers Associationdelayed planting in several potato growing regions, especially in the Far North.Risk is a word growers in Manitoba know all too well. Weather remains a The soil was slow to warm, and there have been reports of delayed and unevenmajor risk even as growers have set out to address it through irrigation and emergence in some areas. Heavy rainfall across the province over the first weektiling. Extremes in heat and cold affect yields and quality. Disease and insect of June led to washouts in planted fields and further delays for members tryingseverity changes from year-to-year as does the effectiveness of the products to finish planting. By mid-June, most of the seed potato acres in Saskatchewanregistered to combat them. The threat of the discontinued registration of were planted, save for a few acres of high generation, short season varieties.effective products is also a risk. Market downturns, although not new, are Our members have also been contending with unusually high winds this sea- always something growers seldom expect, and the recent COVID-19 pandemic son. These unrelenting winds have made spraying operations near impossibleis no exception. The unknown territory of potentially having contracted product most days, and there are some reports of crop damage due to wind. left in growers sheds at the end of the shipping season without payment from We at SSPGA wish our fellow growers across the country a safe, happy, andthe marketplace is a new risk that producers simply should not have to bear.productive growing season. Mother Nature may be ever challenging, but asPlanted acreage for 2020 will be down in the province from the previous farmers, we've always been up for that challenge. year. The recently completed Simplot expansion, which was gearing up to move to full production this year, will not likely realize this goal due to the COVID-19 downturn, and it will nonetheless limit the acreage drop.ONTARIO Planting wrapped up for Manitoba potato growers in the last week of May, stretching out the season which began slowly on April 18. Cold temperatures Kevin Brubacher, general manager and wet conditions held over from last fall put planting seven to 10 days of the Ontario Potato Board behind average. Plants were just beginning to emerge on the early fields but Planted acreage in Ontario is expected to remain similar to last year despitewere blackened off by a May 27 frost. A significant part of the crop was in the the COVID-19 pandemic. Ontario producers are expected to plant approximate- ground on May 11 when nighttime temperatures dipped to an all-time low in ly 34,000 acres of potatoes this year. This estimated acreage will be verified inWinnipeg of -10.3 C. Fortunately the low in Carberry, where the bulk of the crop mid-July when our planted acreage survey is complete.is grown, recorded just over -8 C. The previous week had recorded overnight The COVID-19 pandemic has definitely had a negative effect on the potatotemperatures dipping below freezing. Without widespread emergence at the market in Ontario. Fortunately for our industry, these effects have not been astime of writing, it is unknown how the seed has survived.great as in other parts of the country. Our chip industry has remained strongVery little April and May moisture along with a temperature of 32 C on June and the fresh market stable. Decline in food service demand has made it1 is turning things around rapidly and improving the outlook. Winter precipi-tough for producers supplying to those markets.tation accumulation was the second lowest on record, making it slightly better At the time of writing this in mid-June, the majority of acreage has beenthan last year. In spite of the low snowfall, growers who depend on off-stream planted. Spring conditions have been favourable and early crop potatoes arereservoirs for irrigation did manage to fill them. 42 SPUDSMART.COM SUMMER 2020"