Lack of snow not ideal, but winter not too bad for potato fields so far

January's hard frost will help make for a good farm season in 2018, says the P.E.I. Potato Board, and snow coming Wednesday could make it even better.

Snow can help prevent winter erosion

Farmers can expect more than the light dusting of snow currently on their fields by Thursday. (Kevin Yarr/CBC)

January's hard frost will help make for a good farm season in 2018, says the P.E.I. Potato Board, and snow coming Wednesday could make it even better.

"From a pest perspective it's good. The colder the ground gets and the deeper that the frost goes, it's favourable in helping to control some of the pests that overwinter in the soil," said board general manager Greg Donald.

"In a perfect world we'd have that frost and a snow cover and it would help to protect the soil better."

That snow cover is forecast to come for much of the Island Wednesday, with a snowfall warning in effect for Kings and Queens counties.

The fields have been largely bare this winter, with Environment Canada recording just a few days with 10 or more centimetres of snow on the ground.

But that is not unusual. In seven the last 20 years there has been less than 10 centimetres of snow on the ground in mid-January.

Donald said new farm practices on the Island, such as planting fall cover crops and using new tillage technologies, have made the soil less prone to erosion in winter, even without snow cover.

Snow, however, will not only provide further protection, but also recharge groundwater in the spring.

About the Author

Kevin Yarr

Kevin Yarr is the early morning web journalist at CBC P.E.I. You can reach him at kevin.yarr@cbc.ca.