ONTARIO — One prognosticator is forecasting record-breaking yields this year for corn and soybeans.
The 8th annual Great Ontario Yield Tour predicts record yields with an Ontario average for corn at 203 bu/ac and soybeans at 53.5 bu/ac. But rival Great Lakes Grain’s 14th annual crop assessment tour sees strong corn and soybeans yields but falling just short of a record at 199.9 bu/ac for corn and 48.6 bu/ac for soybeans.
The current Ontario corn yield record is 200 bu/ac, set in 2021, Agricorp reports. The soybean record is 53 bu/ac, a mark reached in 2021 and 2018. The 10-year yield average is 173 bu/ac for corn and 47 bu/ac for soybeans, Agricorp reported.
Statistics Canada was not as bullish with its latest crop projections of an Ontario corn yield at 169.7 bu/ac and the soybean yield at 50.5 bu/ac
Meanwhile, the Great Ontario Yield Tour predicts that Eastern Ontario will hit 197 bu/ac for corn and will lead the province in soybean output, at 55.9 bu/ac.
Great Lakes Grain foresees an Eastern Ontario corn yield of 193.8 bu/ac and a soybean yield of 49.7 bu/ac. It also predicts that Prescott & Russell will be the province’s fourth-highest yielding county for both corn (205.1 bu/ac) and soybeans (52.3 bu/ac) in 2023.
The provincial numbers projected by Great Lakes Grain, while not a record, are still higher than the historical average, though “not as good as we’ve had in the last couple of years,” the company’s Jim Irvine told Farmers Forum. “I think in the higher heat unit areas, there is still a lot of potential for expanded yields,” he added.
“Weather has been a challenge this year. The start of harvest for both crops was delayed as maturity fell behind average during a cooler than average summer. In September, fingers were crossed in the hope that the crops — especially corn — would catch up before the arrival of the season’s first frost. The delayed soybean harvest will likely cut down on the number of winter wheat acres planted after beans,” Irvine pointed out.
While both crops were up to two weeks behind in maturity in August, Environment Canada’s senior climatologist David Phillips said everything changed thanks to warmer and drier weather that should extend straight through the fall. “I couldn’t think of a more ideal fall,” Phillips told Farmers Forum.
Eastern Ontario crop consultant Gilles Quesnel reported in late September that soybeans were past the point of incurring a yield hit from any frost but harvest would be delayed by two weeks. A delayed or very late harvest was also a concern for corn, Quesnel said, along with a very slow corn dry-down.
At the same time the corn crop stands over 10-feet high in some areas. The crops are extra lush thanks to high rainfall during both the 2022 and 2023 growing seasons — which was caused by a natural event: the December 2021 eruption of an undersea volcano in the country of Tonga in the Pacific Ocean and north of New Zealand. Total annual rainfall on one Quebec farm is expected to be about 200 mm higher than the 5-year average of 1,059 mm. According to NASA, the huge Tonga blast vaporized so much extra fresh water into the atmosphere, it may take several years for the water to come back down.