b'EYE ON THE NATION BRITISH COLUMBIA MANITOBAHugh Reynolds with Reynalda Farms Dan Sawatzky, general manager,in Delta, B.C. Keystone Potato Producers AssociationThe weather in British Columbia threatened snow and frost inReversing the trend of potato growers exiting the industry, March and April, but fortunately the conditions were generallyManitoba has seen four new entrants this year adding to the favourable. Most planters were washed up by the last week infour new growers last year. Previously it had been a decade May when the first Warbas potatoes were ready for sale.since anyone new started potato farmingthe last major influx Above average temperatures have now been replaced byoccurred in 2003 when J.R. Simplot Company opened a plant in cooler temperatures, with showers or thunderstorms coming offPortage la Prairie. The recent expansion at Simplot has brought the water every few days. July and August tend to be dry, and weopportunity and optimism for these new farms.expect the same for this year. Those with irrigation are checkingPlanting in the province started on April 21 with most of the their equipment.crop in the ground by mid-May. Soil conditions were optimal Currently the potatoes are growing to their genetic potential,for seed going in the ground with soil temperature and moisture and we expect a good crop for 2021. There was some Warbaconducive to little seed decay. Emergence as of the start of June and Chieftain seed not planted. Some additional acres in theis at 75 per cent is close to normalperhaps a day or two interior were planted to Russets. COVID-19 vaccination hasbehind.gone well in B.C. and the Kennebec seed was mostly planted inOnce again frost affected early emerged fields with night time anticipation food service demand will return with the reopeningtemperatures dropping below freezing during the last full week of restaurants. of May. Daytime temperatures the previous week reached 31 C. The Canadian International Trade Tribunal (CITT) recentlyWithin a week of the frost damage the June 4, the temperature completed its expiry review on certain whole potatoes exportedwas recorded at 40 C. You can see why weather is usually a topic from the U.S. for use or consumption in B.C. In June the CITTof conversation among potato growers in Manitoba.announced its decisionthe order made on Sept. 9, 2015, willPrecipitation since Nov. 1 has tracked at 40 to 60 per cent of continue for another five years, with renewal slated for 2025. normalMay being the exception with some much-needed rains happening. Continued rains throughout the growing season will be necessary as some water reservoirs remain empty or are only partially filled.In person industry events and gathering are still uncertain with COVID-19 cases remaining high in the province and continuing to pressure on health facilities. Farms, as an essential service, continue to take precautions to ensure their own well-being and the world they feed.ONTARIOKevin Brubacher, general managerof the Ontario Potato BoardPlanted acreage in Ontario is expected to remain similar to last year. Ontario producers are expected to plant approximately 36,000 acres to potatoes this year. This estimated acreage will be verified mid-July when our planted acreage survey is complete. As Ontario begins the reopening plan, we are hopeful foodservice business will begin to bounce back. Throughout the spring, fresh and process markets have been steady. At the time of writing at the start of June, the majority of acreage has been planted. Spring growing conditions have been favourable and early crop potatoes are looking healthy. Most areas have been lucky to receive some much-needed precipitation, however, many areas are already supplementing rainfall with irrigation. Again, because of COVID-19 our plans to host our annual field days this summer are still uncertain. We will most likely be holding these events virtually. The Potato Research Field Day at 42SPUDSMART.COM Summer 2021'