Despite the challenging spring and summer, there were still stories to tell at the Muck Crops Research Station (MCRS) Grower Field Day held on September 7 in Bradford, ON. Approximately 120 growers, industry representatives, government representatives, and research staff attended the day which included field and storage variety trials, research trials, and coffee and lunch socials. Throughout the day Station and research staff members were available to answer questions and guide growers through the various trials listed in the booklet. The MCRS staff thank the growers for supporting the day and attending this year’s event.
Wet & Wild Weather
The damp and cool spring turned soggy and difficult. April and May rainfall was roughly double the MCRS ten-year average. June 2017 is on record as having the most rainfall in MCRS-recorded data at 205 mm (8.1”).
A storm on May 18 brought wind, hail, and rain which reduced the red onion transplants to stubs. Another storm followed on June 23 when the ground was already saturated; in 6 hours of the morning, 3 ¼” of rain fell and filled the dips between rows and beds with water. While the rainfall tapered off in the following months, the temperatures remained low.
Across the Station and the Holland Marsh area, the combination of delayed planting and unfavorable growing weather caused crops to be behind throughout the season.
The red onion variety trial has 16 transplanted varieties. The trial was good considering the pounding it took in May. There were some promising new varieties shown.
The yellow onions had not yet matured and the variety trial is about 7-10 days behind a normal year. The 38 varieties should be lodged and drying down at the Field Day. Harvest is expected to begin in 1-2 weeks and Station Manager Shawn Janse rated the trial ‘fair’.
The carrot variety trial, however, was disappointing. “In all the years I’ve conducted them, this year’s carrots was one of the poorest trials” stated Janse. “The rain had a detrimental effect on the crop.” The culls of the 20 varieties were caused by splits, forks, and hairiness. It did seem that the jumbo carrots fared better than the cello types.
“I would like to acknowledge John Verkaik of Solar Seeds for providing lunch and Stokes Seeds for the coffee and snacks” says Janse. “Thank you also to all the seed companies for entering varieties into the trials and for their continued support.”
A bad year for disease tends to translate to a good year for fungicide research which was true for downy mildew in onions. “The year’s weather was very favourable for downy mildew development” noted IPM Program Co-ordinator Zach Telfer. “This provided good disease pressure for our downy mildew trial for the first time in several years, allowing us to assess effectiveness of our onion downy mildew fungicides.” An impromptu tour led by Research Technician Kevin Vander Kooi allowed growers to see this research in progress.
The carrot trials are also showing promise. “Early results from our carrot trials suggest the newest carrot weevil product, Rimon, is working very well while Imidan is providing poor weevil control in the Marsh” says Telfer.
Results from all the trials conducted at the Muck Station will be presented at the annual Muck Crop Vegetable Grower’s Conference held in Bradford, ON in the spring. The ‘green book’ containing the reports will also be on hand at the conference. Previous years’ annual reports and research publications are available on the Station’s website www.uoguelph.ca/muckcrop/publications.