By Tom Collins
CAMPBELLFORD — It’s been a rough start to soybean harvest in Northumberland County, with many yields expected to be 15 to 20 per cent below average. At the end of September, harvest was up to 10 days behind schedule for many farmers across Eastern Ontario. But there was still a reason to wink and smile. Quality across the province looks good.
Trevor Greydanus, at Grafton near Cobourg in Northumberland County, posted a photo on Twitter that recorded an area on one soybean field yielding a pathetic nine bushels per acre. The five-year Eastern Ontario average yield is 45 bu/ac and 41 bu/ac in Central Ontario.
“Beans have been a disappointment,” said Campbellford’s Ron Elmhirst. The custom operator harvested about 300 acres in the 10 days before he spoke to Farmers Forum on Sept. 26. “We were hoping they were going to run (about 36 bu/ac) when we started, but I don’t think that’s going to be the case. We’re definitely going to be below average.”
Elmhirst said land with good moisture can be as high as 50 bu/ac, but dry land in the same field could yield as low as five to 10 bu/ac.
Neighbour Don Honey isn’t faring any better. After harvesting 250 acres, some on his own farm and some custom work, he was averaging 34 bu/ac with a yield range of 26 to 41 bu/ac.
“It’s not the best thing that’s ever happened to us, let’s put it that way,” he said. “There’s talk of beans in this area running 15 to 20 bushels.”
Yields increase farther east. Joe Jansen of C Double J Harvesting and Farms at Iroquois said he is averaging 40 to 50 bu/ac.
“We were definitely expecting the worst,” he said. “It’s gratifying that you can at least see good yields on your better land rather than in a dry year think the worst.”
Warren Schneckenburger at Morrisburg had 55 bu/ac on 1.5 acres on Sept. 26, but decided to wait a week as there were too many green soybeans.
“It’s surprisingly excellent, considering no rain,” he said, adding expectations could change as more fields are harvested. “The beans are short, but the pods must be loaded because the beans are coming from somewhere.”