From FCC Express
By Owen Roberts
Most producers in Ontario’s corn belt headed into August in good shape, but desperately need rain now to see kernels fill and yields grow.
Early planting and favourable growing conditions in the spring and early summer resulted in what Dale Cowan, senior agronomist for AGRIS and Wanstead Coop, calls healthy plants and, in many fields, “absolutely huge” corn cobs.
Now, rain is needed – especially in the next seven to 10 days – for the kernels on those cobs to develop.
July and early August dry weather has left southwestern Ontario producers with about one-half to two-thirds less than normal rainfall. Cowan says farms on heavy clay or sharp sand are the worst off.
In other areas, precipitation was much more scarce, with drought in eastern and central Ontario and the Niagara Peninsula.
As for corn, Cowan says there’s a key 55 to 65 days in which corn goes through its growth stages. Without rain at this period when kernel filling takes place, plants go into survival mode.
“All plants are hard-wired to reproduce, and they speed up when they’re stressed,” Cowan says. “They don’t know a farmer wants 200 bushels an acre. They’re just trying to survive.”
Throughout August is also when the soybean crop develops yield. Producers will be watching the skies for rain during the month, but right now, it’s the corn crop and the short kernel-filling period that has the industry concerned.
Says Cowan: “We’re at a critical stage. We need rain now.”