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Ontario Crops Off To A Strong Start, But Quickly Need Rain

on July 23 | in Ag News | by | with No Comments

From FCC Express

By Owen Roberts

A year ago, many Ontario fields were sopping wet. Crops were drenched, waterlogged and submerged, especially in the southwest. More rain fell in June, delaying planting in some areas until July.

But 12 months later, it’s a different story.

About face

This spring has been a rebound season for Ontario crop farmers. Corn was planted in May according to schedule, and the requisite heat units arrived mid month. Soybeans followed, and although it’s still early and they look spotty in some fields, predictions are favourable… as long as rain comes soon.

Dale Cowan, senior agronomist with AGRIS and Wanstead Farmers Co-op, says rain is needed on, or during, the weekend or plants will start to feel stress from a lack of moisture.

“The southwest got off to a good start,” Cowan says, “but overall it’s dry. The east and north are in desperate need of rain.”

Winter wheat hasn’t fared as well as corn and soybeans. It had what looked like a fairy tale start, surviving the winter well and then getting an early spring, the right temperatures for optimal growth and well-timed rain.

Leaf stripe rust

And crops looked great until leaf stripe rust disease hit. As a result, yields are scattered. Cowan predicts about 10 per cent of wheat growers will still reach once-in-a-lifetime yields, maybe as high as 120 bushels an acre. Most will be average, though, and he says around 25 per cent of growers will be “disappointed” with their yields.

Overall, though, crops are holding their own heading into the summer. It hasn’t been so dry that insects have become a problem, nor has it been wet enough for fungal plant diseases to surface excessively. Some alfalfa weevil was reported early on, but it stopped being a problem when alfalfa was cut.

“We’re much better off than we were last year,” says Cowan.

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