By Connor Lynch
PORT LAMBTON — A blast of heat across Ontario has done wonders to the soybean crop, sending farmers into the field to fill combines.
Western Ontario saw heat warnings doled out at the end of September as a heat wave blanketed much of the province. London, Middlesex and Strathroy all received warnings of temperatures exceeding 30 C, feeling closer to 40 C with the humidex.
The heat was a boon for the soybean crop, said OMAFRA soybean expert Horst Bohner. “It’s been a real blessing to have this kind of weather in the fall,” Bohner told Farmers Forum. By Oct. 2, he said, many growers had finished soybean harvest, although there were also some still a few weeks away from getting beans out of the ground. Many farmers in Perth and Middlesex had finished their harvest by the end of September, said Bohner. The heat caught farmers in those areas right on schedule, he said. Mostly, soybeans are in the average range, with most fields thus far into harvest yielding around 40 bushels per acre, he said. But where yields aren’t average, they swing widely from terrible to terrific. “As low as 32 bu/ac, and as high as 60 bu/ac,” Bohner said. “(Yields) will be all over the board this year.”
Lambton county cash crop farmer Dan Caron said that his soybeans were mostly yielding close to 50 bu/ac. Conditions on his farm near Port Lambton, 40 km northwest of Chatham-Kent, were nearly perfect all season. The crop went in at its usual time, mid-May, and got anywhere from a quarter inch to an inch of rain every week, he said. He figured that harvest this year was a record early start, albeit only by a few days. Crop was coming off the field by the last week of September, where his usual start time typically isn’t until the start of October.
Statistics Canada is much more optimistic, forecasting a record soybean yield for the province this year at 49.3 bu/ac. The Southern Ontario five-year average is 47 bu/ac and last year’s average was 49.6 bu/ac. The Western Ontario five-year average is 46 bu/ac and last year’s average yield was 44.8 bu/ac.