by SUSAN MANN
Prince Edward County farmer Lloyd Crowe almost didn’t go to Thursday night’s banquet in Ingersoll announcing the winners of the Grain Farmers of Ontario winter wheat and soybean yield challenges.
Crowe says he was reluctant to make the four-hour drive because they’re still harvesting corn on his farm and “it’s quite a busy time of year.” But it’s a good thing he went because Crowe won first in the winter wheat challenge with a whopping 150 bushels per acre.
Crowe says all he was told before the banquet was that he was in the top five. He didn’t know he won until it was announced at the banquet. The prize was $1,500.
Zilke Farms of Woodstock with 140.8 bushels per acre won the second prize of $750. This was the first year for the wheat yield challenge, sponsored by Bayer CropScience, Hyland Seeds and C&M Seeds.
Crowe, who farms about 5,500 acres with his uncle, Larry Reynolds, at Reynolds Farms Ltd. near Picton, says the wheat he entered was grown was on a parcel of land formerly used for field peas that they just bought last year. “We used to grow peas in the county and I knew whenever you follow wheat on pea ground you knew that was going to be your best wheat because of the nitrogen fixing capabilities of a pea crop.”
Aside from planting the wheat into former pea growing land, Crowe says they didn’t do anything special or different with the crop.
Crowe says they’ve never had yields of 150 bushels per acre on their farm. “Our average is much below that” but he didn’t want to say exactly how much lower it is.
The approximately 30-acre field with the spectacular yields was the last wheat field he harvested and when he started he didn’t “think it was going to be an exceptional yield.” But as he got more into the field he knew the yield was outstanding.
The soybean yield challenge was divided into two divisions – IP with prizes sponsored by DuPont and non-IP with prizes sponsored by Genuity. In each division the entrants were separated into three zones based on crop heat units.
The winners in zone one (2700 heat units and under) were: Ronald Rody of Moorefield with 57.8 bushels per acre for non-IP while for IP Jon Bakker of Frankford won first with 74 bushels per acre and Schouten Corner View Farms of Richmond was a close second with 73.7 bushels per acre.
In zone two (2725 to 3000 heat units) George Ennis of Winchester was first with 80.2 bushels per acre and R & J Fraser Farms Ltd. of Ottawa was second with 68.5 bushels per acre for the non-IP division. For the IP division, Ceresmore Farms of Bowmanville was first with 69.7 bushels per acre and Justin Dorland of Brighton was second with 64.1 bushels per acre.
In zone three (3025 heat units and above) in the non IP division Simard Bros. Inc. of Oldcastle was first with 72.9 bushels per acre while Robert Devolder of Dover Centre came second with 67.9 bushels per acre.
The two grand prize winners, George Ennis and Jon Bakker, each won a trip for two to the National Farm Machinery Show in Louisville, Kentucky. All winners and runners up received admission to Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show and to a local farm show of their choice. In addition the winners in each division and zone received a cash prize of $10 times their yield in bushels.
Also contributing to the soybean yield challenge at the gold level were: Dekalb, Hyland Seeds, Maizex, Mycogen and NK Seeds. At the silver sponsorship level contributors were: Country Farm Seeds and SeCan. Pioneer Hi-Bred Ltd. provided support for the banquet. BF