Photo: Petra Hathaway, grain originator with Great Lakes Grain (right) and Dutton area farmer Stan Campbell hold the results of Great Lakes Grain's 2015 Crop Assessment Tour yield estimates. The grain elevator operator worked in partnership with its affiliated co-operatives across southern Ontario to collect data for the estimates.
by BETTER FARMING STAFF
Ontario corn and soybean crops won’t set records this year but will generate average to slightly above average yields, says a grain buyer with Great Lakes Grain.
After a spring that started off with frost and rain for some and then morphed into significantly more rain in June and early July for most, achieving middle ground yields would be a “great” outcome for the province’s farmers, says Petra Hathaway. Great Lakes operates 24 elevators across mostly southwestern Ontario.
“We’re not a 190 (bushels of corn per acre yield average) across the board,” Hathaway notes during Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show on Wednesday. She bases her comments on a survey Great Lakes recently conducted. “There are some areas that were definitely affected differently that would have had more problems.” Nevertheless, “I think there will be some (good) surprises once we actually get into harvest.”
The annual survey, in its sixth year, drew on data collected from tours of more than 600 sites across southern Ontario over 10 days earlier this month. Its corn and soybean average yield projections for 17 key municipalities, and for the province, were released this week at the farm show.
“The heart of the project is to get in the field with our growers to see what is going on with their crop,” says Hathaway.
The survey’s final report says wet weather early on in the summer created worries about nitrogen (N) loss in corn and “we did witness a lot of N deficiency.”
The report also notes that eyespot, a fungal disease that can increase corn plants’ susceptibility to stalk rot, was found “in nearly every field,” and predicts that corn stalk quality and standability may be undermined by leaf loss caused by the disease as well as the low nitrogen levels and shallow roots.
Field-to-field corn yield estimates varied from 88 bu/A to 289 bu/A with the provincial average being 173.3.
The report projects Chatham-Kent growers will have the highest average per acre corn yield at 191.9 bu. Hamilton Wentworth growers may have the lowest average, projected at 152.3 bushels.
Average soybean yield estimates range from a high of 51.3 for Chatham-Kent to a low of 38.2 for Norfolk County. Great Lakes estimates the provincial average will be 45.4.
The report notes average soybean pod counts are 371 this year compared to 406 last year; lower counts are mitigated by “noticeably better” pod fill.
Great Lakes worked with affiliated co-operatives across southern Ontario to obtain the information. Janice Johnson, a spokesperson for Growmark Inc., which operates Great Lakes as a marketing partnership with Agris Co-operative Ltd., says the program is modelled after the Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour that takes place annually in the United States. “We want to get as many data sites (as possible) across Ontario,” she says. “We want to use that information to go back to the farmer, follow-up with our customers to make marketing plans. I think that’s really important.”
Dutton area cash crop farmer Stan Campbell is looking forward to seeing the results for his farm. He was involved in the survey this year for both his corn and identity preserved soybean crops and has been involved with it in the past. He says he uses those results “when the combine rolls” to make marketing decisions.
Johnson says interest in the results has gained momentum over the past couple of years. “A lot of people are coming up to our booth to get the results.” BF
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