From FCC Express
By Owen Roberts
With about 90 per cent of the wheat harvest complete, it looks like 2016 could be a banner year for the crop in Ontario.
But producers are being cautioned to make sure they have orderly marketing plans in place, so they don’t get caught with their bins full when soybeans and corn are ready to come off.
The provincial average wheat yield of 80.1 bushels per acre (set in 2013) is expected to be pushed higher with this year’s crop, which has regularly come in at about 100 bushels per acre.
Dale Cowan, senior agronomist with AGRIS and Wanstead co-ops, says he’s seen yields as high as 149 bushels per acre.
“These are stellar yields and the quality is exceptional,” he says. “If ever there was a year to set a new provincial average, this is it.”
Indeed, diseases seen in some years – fusarium head blight and vomitoxin, for example – didn’t affect the 2016 crop. Stripe rust, an early threat, was managed well with fungicides by most producers. Those who failed to protect their crop against it saw their yields fall to around 40 bushels per acre.
But those producers were in the minority. Overwhelmingly, quality was superb and yields were sky high.
Plan storage now
However, with such high yields, storage bins are expected to fill up fast. And if most producers hold onto their wheat until the fall, then need to sell quickly to make room for corn and soybeans, Cowan says channels are bound to get plugged.
“Start talking with your elevator and end users now,” he advises. “Try to make arrangements, like moving a load every week through to October, so you have some room in your bins when it’s time to put soybeans and corn in.
Cowan says this year’s yields surprised many people because rain was spotty. But early planting compensated for it, getting the crop off to a good start before winter.
“You can’t deny the advantages of planting early,” he says. “Early beans in 2015 meant early wheat, and now we’re seeing the positive results.”