From FCC Express
By Susan Mann
The early fall’s burst of heat in Ontario gave the province’s late-planted crops a helping hand towards maturity.
The hot spell in September, when temperatures soared above 30 C for several days, was a big help in advancing late-planted corn’s maturity, says Dale Cowan, senior agronomist for AGRIS Co-operative Ltd. and Wanstead Farmers co-operative in southern Ontario.
For early-planted corn, the heat helped to accelerate maturity and drying, and for soybeans there was no effect “unless they were planted late,” Cowan says.
Cowan says soybean harvest has already started in the southwest, while corn harvest hasn’t really begun yet.
“The beans are drying but the stems are green so that’s slowing up the progress a little bit,” Cowan says.
Cowan, who has had a 40-year career in agriculture, says the cool, wet spring in Ontario was more of a typical spring, whereas in the last five to eight years “we’ve had early springs and early falls.
“This year we had a later planting season compared to the last three to four years,” he notes.
Elgin County vegetable and cash crop farmer Mark Wales says the warm September saved the corn and soybean crop across the province “because a lot of them were planted late. We needed a full, warm September and we got it.”
Wales says with corn and soybeans drying down “fairly early, he expects corn harvest to start sooner than normal, which could mean better weather during harvest.
He described the growing season as “frustrating.”
“There is no normal anymore,” Wales says.
Farmers experienced a range of weather conditions. After a prolonged cool, wet summer, particularly in eastern Ontario. “All the heat came in September,” Wales said.
Apple crop smaller
Ontario Apple Growers chair Charles Stevens says the hot temperatures this fall have had no impact on the apple crop.
The crop’s size is down 20 per cent this year compared to last year due to last year’s drought. This year’s apples are larger, juicier and have more colour.