ViewpointsEye On The NationSummer 2023 Cross Canada Check in with Potato Associations

Summer 2023 Cross Canada Check in with Potato Associations

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Here is your provincial potato association updates from across Canada for the summer 2023 issue of Spud Smart.

BC Vegetable Marking Commission logo
Photo: B.C. Vegetable Marketing Commission

British Columbia

By: Hugh Reynolds with Reynalda Farms in Delta, B.C.

British Columbia had a sunny May which allowed for the best possible planting weather. A recent rain and the promise of more is giving the crop a perfect start. The forest fires are mostly northeast and haven’t bothered the potato growing region.

Early potatoes are available in all local stores. This is a good thing as last year planting was very late followed by no rain for the summer. The light crop last year didn’t fill storages, which are now empty. As of June 15 we’re seeing good yields and quality with our limited acres.

Keystone Potato Producers Association logo
Photo: Keystone Potato Producers Association

Manitoba

By: Dan Sawatzky, general manager of the Keystone Potato Producers Association

Things are looking good here in sunny Manitoba. Following a drawn-out winter, summer is upon us quickly. Planting in the western part of the province began April 27, which is a few days later than normal, and the majority of the planters were in the field by the second week of May. The crop went in quickly and was basically wrapped up by the end of the month with little delay. Warm soil temperatures brought on rapid emergence with the first potatoes out of the ground by the third week of May and widespread emergence by the time of writing on June 13. Stands are looking good with the first fields at the hooking stage. May has been recorded as having the second hottest average temperature since recording began. Temperatures were 125 per cent above normal for the month and continue to be hot in June. Dry conditions are associated with the heat, with rainfall being only 25 to 40 per cent of normal. The crop is off to a much better start than last year, and the potential is there for a good season.

We’re still short on our ability to supply the needs of the processors locally and some additional acres have been contracted outside the province. Water availability for irrigation is the limiting factor to fully supply our own needs.

Within the province, contract agreements have been reached to reflect the increased cost to grow the crop. Signing will begin shortly.

Wishing everyone a great growing season resulting in a bumper crop.

Ontario Potato Board logo
Photo: Ontario Potato Board

Ontario

By: Kevin Brubacher, manager of the Ontario Potato Board

Planted acreage in Ontario is expected to remain similar to last year. Ontario producers are expected to plant approximately 37,000 acres to potatoes this year. This estimated acreage will be verified mid-July when our planted acreage survey is complete.

At the time of writing on June 14 the majority of acreage has been planted. Planting in southwestern Ontario, our earliest growing region, got off to an early start. However, shortly after planting began, we saw extremely wet conditions bringing machinery to a stop for seven to 10 days. With sufficient moisture in the ground and favourable weather conditions across the province, planting got into full swing with little interruption. Planting was completed a few days earlier than normal and producers were hoping for rain. Unfortunately it never came. The province was extremely dry in the month of May, causing stress on the crop. Thankfully, most of the province received much needed precipitation the first week of June. The crop has rebounded nicely, and we’re hopeful for better growing conditions moving forward.

This year the Ontario Potato Board hosted the 1st Annual Ontario Potato Board Industry Social Golf Tournament on June 28. What began as an idea to get a few growers together in a social setting has quickly garnered a lot of interest. The event reached full capacity and brought together growers, packers, processors and other reps from across the industry. We enjoyed having this event! If you missed out this time, make sure to keep it in mind for next year.

The Potato Research Field Day at the Elora Research Centre hosted by Vanessa Currie and the Ontario Potato Field Day hosted by Eugenia Banks held at HJV Equipment in Alliston, Ont. have become much anticipated events each summer. We’re extremely excited to host these events once again. Please reach out to the Ontario Potato Board office for details on these events if you wish to attend.

I wish you all a successful planting season!

Prince Edward Island Potato Board logo
Photo: Prince Edward Island Potato Board

Prince Edward Island

By: John Visser, P.E.I. Potato Board chairman

Summer is a beautiful time on Prince Edward Island and the start of a busy meeting season for the potato industry.

In June, the P.E.I. Potato Board, the P.E.I. Department of Agriculture and local Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) personnel provided visiting members of the Canadian Potato Council (CPC) with a first-hand view of potato wart management on the Island. A good understanding of current management practices and awareness of facts are important to allow the CPC to provide meaningful feedback for upcoming consultations on improvements to the CFIA Potato Wart Domestic Long Term Management Plan. It was good to have folks from across Canada in P.E.I. for this session.

The Fruit and Vegetable Growers of Canada Board of Directors held their Annual Summer Farm Tour in P.E.I. on July 5, 2023. A diverse agenda was planned for the farm tours including potato related visits.

On July 24 to 27, P.E.I. will be host for the Potato Association of America Annual meeting. The week will include a symposium on soil health, several days of concurrent sessions that provide updates on the latest in potato research taking place across North America and beyond, a poster session, social events and farm tours.

Les Producteurs de pommes de terre du Québec logo
Photo: Les Producteurs de pommes de terre du Québec

Quebec

By: Sarah-Maude Larose-Lavallée, project officer for Les Producteurs de pommes de terre du Québec

2023 planting conditions were excellent and allowed for rapid planting. We had a few cold nights marked by frost and some rain which slowed planting down a bit, but no damage reported. The potato crop development looked very good, as dry weather and high temperatures of the last few days haven’t had a negative impact on the crop. For the most part, weather has been favourable, and we’re off to a great growing season.

Planted potato acres in Quebec are estimated to remain flat this season, as we’re maxed out on storage at the moment.

As of mid-June, the old crop continued to be moved steadily and demand was strong. Although potato stocks were eight per cent above our five-year average, growers slowed movement down to meet the new crop. Overall usage, from November to June, was above our five-year average, at 9,119,000 per hundred weight, a seven per cent increase. Processing potato usage accounted for the largest increase, at 14 per cent

Members from the Quebec potato industry gathered on June 16 for the Journée Champêtre and we will be getting together on Nov. 23 for our Annual Banquet, so please join us! Visit our website for more information.

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