By Connor Lynch
NAPANEE — Eastern and Central Ontario’s corn producers are looking at average to above yields, a dry crop and heavy kernels.
It’s a far cry from predictions, but a decent crop bolstered by low moisture and high test weights. Great Lakes Grain, Maizex Seeds and Statistics Canada were all calling for record-breaking yields for the province, from 179.5 bushels per acre of corn to a whopping 183 bu/ac. Eastern Ontario’s record was set back in 2015, with a hefty 177.9 bu/ac.
Inevitably the first in the field and the first out, Napanee’s Eric Kaiser, didn’t have his best crop this year. Yields were about 10 per cent below his long-term average of 155 bushels per acre. His silty clay soils and corn don’t play nicely together in the best of years, and the dry spell in June and July didn’t help matters either, he said. But the chickens in his meat bird operation like it, so they keep growing corn, he said.
Crop farmer and elevator operator Arnold Kuratli at St. Isidore said that in his area, yields varied whether you were north or south of Hwy 417. On the north side, fields were yielding quite well, between 160 and 200 bu/ac. Farther south and things weren’t as good, yields hovering around 140 to 150 bu/ac.
Quality was quite good. Heavy kernel corn helped make up for any fields that were yielding lighter than growers had hoped. Crysler-based agronomist and Harvex crop advisor, Barton Simpson, said that areas that got timely rains got above-average corn yields.
At Momac Elevators, just south of urban Ottawa, operator Karl Mowat said they were seeing yields slightly above average and all the corn in so far was grade 2. Test weights and moisture were nothing to complain about either.
Up into Renfrew, cash crop farmer Bert Welten was pleased with how harvest was rolling on. Corn was coming off at about 177 bu/ac, at good quality, with heavy kernels and low moisture. Welten expected to save about a third of his normal drying costs, around $5,000, and less drying time was speeding up his harvest.
Meanwhile, in the far east at Vankleek Hill, elevator operator Kevin Wilson said the corn so far looked good, with good yields, good test weight and quality.
While some areas of Western Ontario are experiencing devastating levels of vomitoxin, Grain Farmers of Ontario chairman Markus Haerle said he has only heard of one rejected load at a processor due to vomitoxin in Eastern Ontario.