By Connor Lynch
PORT LAMBTON — Winter wheat planting in Western Ontario is off to a sporadic but promising start.
Agronomist with Real Agriculture, Peter Johnson, told Farmers Forum that winter wheat planting in Western Ontario was about halfway done as of Oct. 3. “Up until this point, most of Southwestern Ontario has been dry with very low rainfall in September. That’s great for planting wheat.”
In particular, north of London there were plenty of soybeans coming off the fields and winter wheat going in, he said. Conditions have set up well for the crop, except in a few cases where it’s actually too dry.
Normally wheat likes dry weather, but it’s been so dry in some areas that growers planted shallow crops hoping for rain. Those shallowly planted crops generally aren’t coming up. “It will give us more variability than we’d like,” Johnson said.
A hard-and-fast prediction would be premature but signs are promising that Ontario will break 800,000 acres of winter wheat. Though down from last year’s 900,000, Johnson wasn’t expecting the crop to even hit 800,000 acres this year, between the economics of growing wheat and what looked like a late bean crop. Ontario’s five-year planting average is 869,000 acres.
Cash crop farmer Dan Caron, who farms at Port Lambton in Lambton County, got in an early crop of winter wheat this year. “It went perfectly. Nice, dry conditions, the ground worked up nicely,” he said. Planting was about two weeks early this year, thanks to an early bean harvest. He’d finished planting by the start of October, when normally he wouldn’t be done until halfway to Halloween.