Update from Maine Potato Board Agronomy

Spore Trapping

The Maine Potato Board and McCain Foods have contracted the AIR Company of Quebec to provide spore trapping and reporting services across several sites in Aroostook County.  There are also several sites located in New Brunswick and Maine growers will receive the results from these locations as well. The sampling began on June 24th and will continue each Monday, Wednesday and Friday through mid-September.  The results have/will be emailed to growers via the MPB mailing list. If you have not been receiving these result reports, please contact the office at (207) 769-5061.

The purpose of the spore trapping program is to detect potato pathogens prior to the development of infection.  This is done by taking air samples three times per week and identifying the spores that are collected. The program uses weather station data located at the sampling sites to estimate the risk of infection if the pathogen is present.  It is the goal of the program to provide growers and crop consultants with information to use in conjunction with other disease forecasting programs to make best management decisions on when and which fungicides to apply. As of July 1st, no late blight spores have been detected.  Early blight spores have been found throughout the region as well as fusarium spores.

Research Projects

  • Field pea (green and yellow) and chickpea replicated plot trials were planted in Mapleton on May 29th
  • Canola and condiment mustard replicated plot trials were planted in Castle Hill on June 6th.
  • Malt barley and oat variety trials were planted in Mapleton on May 29th.
  • Bio-fumigant mustard seeding date and fertility field trials have been planted in Bridgewater and Houlton.
  • Herbicide product and rate trials are underway in New Limerick.

Volunteer Potatoes

Once again, volunteer potatoes are proving to be a challenging weed to contend with and control.  When considering chemical options such as glyphosate, carfentrazone, bromoxynil, pyrasulfotole, bicyclopyrone and mesotrione, be aware of the host crop stage, pre harvest restrictions, and abide by the labelled rates.  Contact products will reduce volunteer potato foliage, however re-sprouting will occur and should be monitored.

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