Spotty rainfall across P.E.I. leaves some producers feeling the heat
By Stephanie Gordon
There has been “incredibly” spotty rainfall over the past three to four days across Prince Edward Island, doing little to quell concerns of farmers enduring a very dry growing season.
Some places have gotten big rainfalls, while others have gotten next to nothing, according to P.E.I. Potato Board’s August 18 agronomy update.
Ryan Barrett, research and agronomy coordinator with the P.E.I. Potato Board, shares a taste of that variability from weather stations across the province. Barrett writes that the majority of locations have gotten approximately five millimetres (mm) of rain from August 1 to 18, with some outliers.
|Foxley River/Tyne Valley area||14 mm|
|Mont Carmel||57 mm|
|Lower Bedeque||52 mm|
|Augustine Cove||61 mm|
|South Lake||10 mm|
On August 7, CBC’s meteorologist Jay Scotland says spring and summer have been very dry, especially in western P.E.I. In some cases, according to Scotland, rainfall has been just 20 per cent of what’s normal. If the dry weather persists, potatoes will end up being smaller-than-average in size and can develop quality issues like scab or physiological defects linked to dry weather.
Matthew Compton of Compton’s Vegetable Stand in Summerside, P.E.I. told the CBC that he doesn’t remember it ever being this dry for this long. Compton shares that his sweet corn cobs and strawberries are not as long or big as they should be due to the dry weather.
— Lorraine MacKinnon (@SpudIslandGirl) August 14, 2020
Potatoes are in blossom 🌸🥔 but these crops still are in desperate need of water! Praying that we get some much needed rain today 🤞🏻🌨 #peipotatoes #prayforrain #AgLivingLab @andrewlawless6 pic.twitter.com/qrXiFRgbza
— East Prince Agri-Environment Association (@EPAA_pei) July 23, 2020
“Farmers are undoubtedly feeling the stress of the drought more acutely than anyone. I sincerely hope that your potato fields are able to hang on just a little bit longer to hopefully catch some rain later this week. For those that did get some rainfall on the weekend, I hope that the fields are still in a position to use that moisture. As noted last week, please feel free to reach out to me if you just want to chat, but take advantage of the Farmer Assistance Program if you feel like you need to talk to a mental health professional,” Barrett writes in his agronomy update.