b'ROUNDTABLE The Effect of Climate Change on SpudsClimate change is affecting how potatoes grow in Canada, but there are ways to adapt your farm to weather the changes.BY: ASHLEY ROBINSONRYAN BARRETT Editors note: This interview has beenare high and theres more respiration, dry edited for length and clarity. matter distribution favours developing research and agronomyfoliage and so tuber dry matter suffer, and specialist with the Prince Edward Island PotatoSpud Smart (SS): Is climate changethey can get unacceptably low especially Board a new concern for Canadian potatofor the processing industry. With the growers? warmer temperatures, pests and weeds Stephanie Arnold (SA): Its been a whilecan overwinter become more productive, STEPHANIE ARNOLD since the temperatures here in P.E.I. inmore invasive, and multiply faster.the summer have stayed below 21 C as climate change andthey did in the 1970s. And Im not evenSS: How is precipitation being adaptation researchersure how often we ever consistently gotaffected by climate change?one inch of rain per week throughout theSA: On the precipitation side, growing season.unfortunately, we dont really expect any I wanted to start here because growerspositives that can come from the change have been adapting to changes in thein precipitation patterns. And because climate for a very long time. So whywarmer weather can hold more water do we all of a sudden have this intensevapour, we will also see longer periods focus on climate change adaptation?between rain events. And when it does What we are focusing on is how the pacerain, it will become more intense. And of change is accelerating. The speed ofso, you can see drought-like conditions adaptation has to pick up like its neverand excessive soil moisture multiple times had too before. within the same season. The events will become more intense,This higher temperature combined with the seasonal rainfall amounts will beirregular and intense rainfall can cause impacted. And also, the type of eventsoccasional flooding, which increases will change. We are already seeing manythe risk of bacterial infections. And more rain events in our winter monthsthis excess soil water can also increase than in years past. incidences of seed contamination.SS: How can we use temperatureSS: Is there a way potato growers changes to our advantage forcan predict what is going to happen growing potatoes? regarding climate?SA: An increase in growing degree daysSA: Its difficult to be proactive when you can open up new options in the varietiesare not sure what to base your decisions and the types of crops we plant. Andon. Can we look at averages? How do we while a double harvest wont be possibleuse trends? Were also uncertain about the ROUNDTABLE SUPPORTED BY: with potatoes, it could be possible withtypes of impacts where and when theyll rotational crops.happen and how severe therell be. And But of course, the good is balancedthe temptation is to wait and see. Thats with the bad for potatoes. The stages ofbecause you dont want to spend your growth thats most affected by heat stresslimited resource too early to prepare for are tuber initiation, vegetative growth andan impact that might not come or might tuber bulking. When the temperaturescome later or isnt as bad as we anticipate. 50SPUDSMART.COM Winter 2022'