P.E.I. potato field

P.E.I Potato Board officials say new guidelines to manage the potato cyst nematode will save seed growers money. (CBC)

Seed growers should save time and money thanks to new guidelines to manage the potato cyst nematode, says the P.E.I. Potato Board.

The new rules are part of an agreement between the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and the United States Department of Agriculture.

According to the CFIA, the new guidelines maintain protection against the pest but also allow farmers to take advantage of trade opportunities with less paperwork, fewer delays and lower costs.

Under the new rules, seed potato growers can export three crops without any additional soil sampling and testing if their fields have been tested twice and determined not to be infested. In the past, seed potato growers were required to undergo sampling and testing for every crop of seed potatoes destined for the U.S.

The P.E.I. Potato Board and several other grower associations across Canada have been lobbying for the changes.

"This is a change of the requirements that are less prohibitive," said Greg Donald, the general manager of the P.E.I. Potato Board. 

"This change will mean the testing won't have to be as frequent and therefore the cost will be less."

Donald noted potato cyst nematode has never been found on P.E.I.