Dry weather and excess heat took a toll on Ontario’s corn crop while some farmers may see impressive yields for soybeans as the Great Lakes Grain annual crop assessment tour has revealed a mixed bag of results.
Now in its seventh year, Ontario FS Co-operative members from Lucknow Co-operative, Huron Bay Co-operative, North Wellington Co-operative, Sunderland Co-operative, Wanstead Farmers’ Cooperative, FS PARTNERS and AGRIS Co-operative participated in the assessment tour.
While variability in corn yields seems to be a yearly topic of discussion, Don Kabbes, Great Lakes Grain General Manager, and Dale Cowan, Senior Agronomist with the AGRIS Co-operative and Wanstead Farmers’ Co-operative, noted that this year may have produced the widest range of yields, from 32 to 241 bushels per acre.
In a news release, they said the geography to the east was greatly affected by the drought.
“The area east of Delhi up to Niagara and eastern Ontario (was) much drier than western Ontario. We have seen yields greatly reduced in those geographies and some areas will record almost nothing for yield.”
They noted that many growing regions received only 30 per cent to 60 per cent of normal 30 year average precipitation. Excess heat during pollen shed and fertilization caused incomplete tip fill and in some fields blank cobs on some of the individual plants.
In addition, insect damage from Western Bean Cutworm (WBC) was noticeable in fields not sprayed in the traditional “hot zone,” but WBC was detected in the non-traditional areas, down to the western portion of Essex County and farther north than experienced in past years.
Northern Corn Leaf blight was also evident more so in corn after corn but at lower incidence and severity levels than other years.
Stalk integrity is suspect and the Great Lakes officials added that farmers will need to keep an eye on stalk rot development. They advise doing a “pinch test” on the lower stalk to determine which fields are prone to stalk breakage and should be harvested sooner rather than later.
They detected a higher incidence of ear mold near the tip. The main concern is the potential for this to lead to development of vomitoxin if favourable conditions develop during the next few weeks.
The Great Lakes Grain officials say there will be some growers in the southwest part of the province that will experience their personal best yield on some of their fields, “if not the best, then the second best in the last ten years.”
While soybean growth was subject to the same weather as the corn crop, the major difference is that soybeans make their yield in the last half of the season, particularly in August. Rainfall during the month helped the soybean crop retain more pods and increase seed size.
The soybean crop is not without its issues. Soybean Cyst Nematode, sudden death syndrome and a host of root rots have been present through the latter part of the season. Foliar leaf diseases can always be found but were at levels below threshold for treatment.
The full report is available on the Great Lakes Grain website at www.greatlakesgrain.com