By Meghan Moran, OMAFRA Canola and Edible Bean Specialist
Canola acreage in Ontario remained stable with approximately 29,250 acres planted in 2017, compared to 29,540 acres planted in 2016. Agricorp reports actually show decreased acreage in most regions with two exceptions; canola acres remained steady in Nipissing at approximately 2,150 ac, and the combined regions of Manitoulin, Sudbury and Temiskaming had 8,886 ac this year compared to about 3,600 ac in 2016.
Most of the province experienced rain throughout the last half of April and into early May, which is usually the ideal time to plant canola. Generally speaking, temperatures were below normal in the spring although there were a few very warm days. Snow fell in Thunder Bay and Temiskaming Districts during May, and temperatures were below zero during the May long weekend. Eastern Ontario was very wet through the spring, with May rainfall amounts of 200% or more compared to normal, and growers in the region only had about 3 open days for working fields up to May 31st.
Quality and Yield
Harvest did not begin until well into September, and was slow to proceed because of wet weather. This meant that canola growers did not capture the advantages of early winter wheat planting that they typically enjoy. Overall harvest was 2 to 3 weeks behind normal. Canola delivered during the early part of harvest came off wet and needed to be dried, but moisture content improved as harvest proceeded. Aside from a few heated loads of grain, quality was good and oil content was high.
Average yields reported by Agricorp are quite strong across all regions, and are higher than 2016 average yields in all areas except northwestern Ontario. Although average yields in eastern Ontario are higher than the dry 2016 season, the extra wet conditions of 2017 put them at the low end of the yield spectrum. Overall yield results are excellent and there are reports of individual growers with greater than 3,000 lb/ac across all of their acres.
In Algoma, Cochrane, Rainy River and Thunder Bay combined (1,660 ac) the average canola yield was 2,061 lb/ac, compared to 2,256 lb/ac reported in 2016. In Manitoulin, Sudbury and Temiskaming regions combined (8,886 ac), yields averaged 2,652 lb/ac, which is about 500lb/ac more than last year. Yields in Nipissing were very strong and about 100 lb/ac better than last year, at 2,812 lb/ac.
Bruce, Huron, Oxford, Perth and Waterloo saw some yield improvements this year, with an average of 2,277 lb/ac. Wellington County beat their 2016 yield by about 300 lb/ac, reaching 2,621 lb/ac on average this year. Grey County remained fairly steady at 2,188 lb/ac, and average yield in Dufferin (2,442 lb/ac) was better than last year by about 200 lb/ac.
Durham, Peel, Simcoe and York improved modestly to 2,277 lb/ac. Moving further east, average yields in Kawartha Lakes, Northumberland, Peterborough and Prince Edward County (1,632 ac) were approximately 1,813 lb/ac. Finally, Frontenac, Lennox & Addington, Ottawa and Renfrew averaged 2,381 lb/ac.
For the complete summary, visit fieldcropnews.com.