by MATT MCINTOSH
A report by Statistics Canada says most principal field crops should see higher than normal production levels this harvest season, but Ontario may bring down that average.
The "Production of principal field crops" report was released on October 4, and says the prevelence of favourable weather conditions in much of the country over the summer months negated the effect of late spring seeding, leading to "higher than normal yields."
The report says Ontario saw a 26.4 per cent production gain in wheat, and should see a 1.6 per cent reduction in grain corn yields when compared to record 2012 yields.
The report goes on to say the anticipated reduction in Ontario corn will be largely due to a 2.2 million acre decline in harvested area. But in some areas, corn yields may also have been negativly affected by sporadic disease and frost.
Peter Johnson, an Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food field crop specialist, confirms that disease has been a problem for some growers, particularly Northern Leaf Blight in certain varieties.
"From early silage yield, Ontario's corn crop should be good," says Johnson. "But 2012 was a great year, and we do have some disease issues, so we would be suprised if corn yields were close to 2012 levels."
Similarly, Johnson says that Agricorp numbers put Ontario's wheat crop at slightly below the trendline of past yields. The production decline, he says, is a result of higher than usual fusarium levels.
As for soybeans, the report says national production is set to decrease to 4.8 million tonnes, which is a reduction of 3.9 per cent from the previous year.
However, Manitoba and Ontario occupy two extremes in that national number.
While Manitoba is set for "record high production" – 909,000 tonnes, an 18 per cent increase from last year – Ontario is looking at a production decrease of 13.2 per cent, bringing the total soy yield to 3 million tonnes.
"It's very hard to determine soy in Ontario right now," says Johnson. "There are yields ranging from 28 to 72 bushels, much of it affected by August rainfall. But in general, I think most growers would say it's a decent yield." BF