By Ben Rosser, OMAFRA Corn Specialist
While April was warmer than normal, some large rainfall events in the middle of the month limited very early planting. A warm, dry period during the last week of April allowed a small amount of corn to be planted early, generally limited to lighter soils of the deep southwest, and very well drained soils in other pockets of the province.
A few heavy rainfall events and cooler weather limited planting activity until the middle to end of the second week of May when field work resumed on lighter textured soils. By the start of the following week (May 14), corn planting was well underway across many parts of the province. A large majority of Ontario’s corn crop was planted during this week.
Final grain corn planting estimates for the province were 2.12 million acres (OMAFRA Crop Statistics), down slightly from the 2.2 million acres estimated in the March Statistics Canada planting intentions report.
Corn silage harvest started later than normal for many livestock producers, with earlier harvested fields generally coming off the second half of September, and harvest continuing on through to the middle of October in some areas. Many growers reported good silage yields.
Despite growing season challenges, and with exception to a few pockets of the province where dry weather prevailed for the latter half of the summer, many growers reported yields above expectations or farm averages.
In some shorter season areas where reaching full crop maturity may have been a challenge, and parts of Central and Eastern Ontario that experienced well-above average rainfall, many still reported yields close to average. Good quality and test weight were reported in longer season areas, while lighter test weights were reported in some shorter season areas.
As of December 20, Agricorp reported that 86% of Agricorp insured acres had been reported with an average yield of 185 bu/ac. This compares to a 10-year average yield of 170 bu/ac for these same growers. The current 10-year average grain corn yield for Ontario as a whole (2007-2016) is 155 bu/ac (OMAFRA Crop Statistics).
Despite planting dates that were later than many would have liked, yield outcomes were still very good in many regions. Ontario planting date trials would support that there is an extended window where yield potential for a hybrid with a maturity adapted for that region remains high.
Based on Ontario planting date trials conducted from 2006-2009, yield potential is still roughly 95% on May 20 at Elora, May 25 at Exeter and June 1 at Ridgetown.
The complete summary can be viewed at fieldcropnews.com.