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P.E.I. potato farmers wanted for survey

P.E.I. potato farmers wanted for survey

The survey focuses on farming practices

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

The University of Prince Edward Island (UPEI) is looking for potato farmers to participate in a survey.

Researchers in the school’s climate change and adaptation department plan to use the collected data in a project that assesses how climate change affects potato yields.

The survey takes about 15 minutes to complete.

The 22-question survey asks producers questions about their farming practices. Questions include the variety of potatoes a farmer plants, planting dates, seed spacing and planting depths.

Interested farmers have until April 30 to complete the questionnaire.

Farmers who do so will have a chance to enter a draw for two $50 gift cards and one free registration for the PEOPLE 2022 International Conference on Persistent, Emerging, and Organic Pollution in the Environment – Challenges and Solutions under Climate Change.

The hybrid conference is scheduled for Aug. 23 to 26 in Charlottetown, P.E.I.

Researchers at UPEI are also conducting a project called “Identification of Climate-Resilient and Wart-Resistant Potato Varieties for P.E.I.”

This project will include collecting potato gene-sequencing data to help make P.E.I. potatoes more resilient to climate changes and resistant to diseases including potato wart.

Potato wart has been top of mind for the P.E.I. potato industry lately as the disease resulted in a temporary export ban to the United States. This ban resulted in the destruction of about 300 million pounds of potatoes.

As climate continues to change, it’s important to ensure crops can succeed in different climates, said Dr. Xander Wang, associate professor in UPEI’s school of climate change and adaptation.

“In particular, a changing climate with more favourable weather conditions—a cool spring followed by a rainy summer—can be conducive to potato disease development,” he said in a statement. “But the changing climate may bring more unfavourable weather conditions—long-lasting droughts, for example—for potato production. Therefore, it is extremely important to explore both climate-resilient and wart-resistant potato varieties that are suitable for the changing climate of PEI.”

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