BORNHOLM — 2020 is a year for the history books in countless awful ways, but at least one good one. After a bone-dry summer for many growers, they hauled in some good-quality corn and great yields.
For farmer and elevator operator Randy De Block at Bornholm, in Perth County, everything about corn harvest this year was fantastic. Quality was great, yields were excellent, moisture levels were low and harvest wrapped up early, by the end of October. “It’s been a long time since we’ve had our own combining done in October,” De Block said. “For the last two years we finished in December.”
The last two years were plagued by other problems: light bushel weight last year and vomitoxin in 2018.
De Block even managed to hold off on a lot of marketing until the crop was coming off, which turned out to be the right call with corn prices soaring. With plenty of 200 bushel/acre yields or even higher, producers got the kind of break they needed after the last two years, he said. “It’s rare that you get great yields with great prices.”
Elevator operator and corn grower Mark Scott at Lucan, north of London, said that with harvest about 50 per cent complete in his area by Nov. 2, producers were on track for a well-above-average year. Yields were rolling in at between 175 bu/ac and 210 bu/ac, with the worst fields generally coming off first, and excellent-quality corn to boot.
South of Sarnia, Tom Wilson, who farms 3,000 acres and runs a beef feedlot and broiler operation, was about half-finished harvesting his 1,100 acres of corn himself by Oct. 30. His yields were average at around 200 bu/ac, but moisture percentage was in the low 20s and what was left should be his best stuff, he said.
In Huron County, farmer Rob Vanden Hengel wrapped up corn harvest by Oct. 29. Yields were over 200 bu/ac, much better than last year’s 180 bu/ac, and 25 per cent moisture corn was much nicer to be taking off than last year’s 31 per cent.
Those numbers are higher than even the most optimistic yield forecasts for this year. Great Lakes Grains was the most optimistic, predicting 186.9 bu/ac corn for Ontario, well above Statistics Canada’s 159.6 bu/ac. Farms.com meanwhile was anticipating 175 bu/ac corn for Southwestern Ontario.
Southwestern Ontario averaged 163.6 bu/ac corn yields last year, while the five-year average is 168.3 bu/ac.