Southwestern Ontario potato planting underway

Seed potatoes loaded for planting. (File photo by Ralph Pearce)

Close-to-seasonal temperatures and good planting conditions across parts of southwestern Ontario have growers in the Leamington region planting potatoes.

According to Eugenia Banks, a special consultant for the Ontario Potato Board, potato planting began Wednesday morning, ahead of a weather system that’s forecast to dump up to 40 mm of rain by Friday.

According to the board, potato planting in the province typically runs in April in May for harvest starting in July and running through the fall.

Ontario’s growers plant about 38,000 acres per year on average to potatoes, with an average crop value around $100 million, the board said, noting potatoes are the province’s largest fresh vegetable crop and second to tomatoes among processing crops.

Banks also announced that with planting underway, the board is promoting its 2017 Potato Scouts Integrated Pest Management (IPM) training session set for Tuesday, May 30. The training is free of charge with handouts provided to all attendees.

The training session runs from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the board office, at 485 Washington St. in Elora, north of Guelph. Banks will be the day’s instructor with Vanessa Currie, a potato specialist with the University of Guelph, as a guest speaker.

Growers seeking more information or wanting to register can contact Banks by e-mail.

— Ralph Pearce is a field editor for Country Guide at St. Marys, Ont. Follow him at @arpee_AG on Twitter.

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