From FCC Express, by Owen Roberts
Wet weather is continuing to be a problem for Ontario farmers.
Wheat harvest in the province is underway, with yields and quality all over the map. The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food and Ministry of Rural Affairs says some farmers have reported yields as the “best wheat crop ever” at 140 bushels an acre.
But others have been a “disappointing” 60 bushels an acre.
It’s the same story for the quality of wheat being delivered to the elevator. The ministry says some has been heavy, clean Grade 1 wheat. But other deliveries have been refused because of fusarium damage. Elevator operators who graded too easily have been saddled with wheat that doesn’t make Grade 2 feed grade.
That’s left some operators on edge, using high grade discounts.
Farmers are frustrated, but inconsistent fusarium-damaged kernel counts between elevators or loads are not uncommon, says the ministry. “Fusarium hot spots in the field can cause wide swings load to load,” it says.
Farmers are also taking measures to reduce other fungal diseases in crops such as corn. Recent efforts have been dedicated to applying (tassel) fungicides, by means including airplane and helicopter. “Growers are focused on protecting yield potential and harvesting the highest yield possible,” says the ministry. But it questions the economics of taking such measures with corn at just $4 a bushel. “The economics of these applications is very tight,” it says.
Damp fields are taking their toll on edible beans, as well. The ministry says growth in many fields is being hampered by root rot and poorly developed and functioning root systems. That’s also led to variability in the crop, which will be a challenge in staging harvest.
And finally, blight and white mould is also evident in many fields. Fortunately, temperatures above 28 C and open crop canopies have limited the infection, but lately, the mercury has dipped. The ministry says fungicides to protect against mould need to target beans while flowering, because the flower pedals serve as the food source that initiates infection.