By Connor Lynch
PETROLIA — It’s cold, it’s wet, and it’s slow, but the 2017 planting season is crawling towards the finish line.
Many Western Ontario growers had all of their corn in by May 31, but not soybeans. Some growers had zero beans in the ground. Farmers don’t start losing significant yield unless they plant after June 15.
Across Western Ontario, over 90 per cent of the corn crop was in by the end of May, said OMAFRA specialist Ben Rosser. Haldimand, Niagara, Lambton and Middlesex counties all have the most pockets of land behind in planting because of the heavy soils that retain water in those areas.
Petrolia-area cash crop farmer Ryan Hall told Farmers Forum on May 29 that he was three quarters finished planting his 200 acres of corn but hasn’t gotten started planting his 500 acres of soybeans. Normally he’d be finished planting soybeans by May 29.
In Kent County, Joe Kerr has wrapped up all 400 acres of corn and 95 per cent of his 1,700 acres of soybeans. His tile-drained land meant he could get planting “two days ahead of anyone else,” letting him get some corn in for an early window of sunshine before the rain picked up again. He told Farmers Forum on May 29 that he was expecting to finish all his planting by the first week of June.
Further north, cash crop farmer John Hill, who owns land in both Middlesex County and Huron County, said that his 1,400 acres of corn were about 75 per cent planted by the end of May and his 1,800 acres of soybeans were halfway done. “It’s not horrendous, but we’re struggling. The farther south you go, it seems, the wetter it gets.”