By Tom Collins
NAPANEE — While Eastern Ontario farmers expect soybean yields to be above average, most say it won’t come close to breaking records.
Three different organizations have projected record yields for Ontario corn and soybeans. Maizex Seeds projects 50.2 bushels per acre of soybeans — including a provincial high of 58 bu/ac for Carleton County — and 179.5 bu/ac for corn. Great Lakes Grain was even more optimistic, predicting Ontario will yield on average 54 bu/ac for soybeans and 183 bu/ac for corn.
Both predictions would smash the previous records of 48.3 bu/ac for soybeans and 169 bu/ac for corn.
Even Statistics Canada got in on the fun as its model-based principal field crop estimates record-breaking soybean yields at 49.1 bu/ac and corn at 169.3 bu/ac.
Most Eastern Ontario growers were just starting to harvest soybeans the last week of September. Growers who spoke to Farmers Forum said they were pleased with the early yield results considering the early-season drought that affected much of the region. Many farmers said the late July rains helped save the crop.
Kaiser Lake Farms, about 80 per cent done soybean harvest on Sept. 24, had bushel per acre yields in the mid-50s. The farm’s average is around 46 bu/ac and has seen yields as high as 66 bu/ac.
“Overall, we’re pretty pleased,” said Eric Kaiser. “We see lots of 60s and 70s on the yield monitor, some 40s, but that’s the nature of our very difficult silty clay soils.”
Campbellford’s Maizeing Acres elevator owner Peter Archer is expecting soybean yields to be about 15 per cent above the area’s low-40s average.
“It’s a mixed bag,” he said. “If you’re looking at stuff that’s on that high and dry, gritty, gravel-based ground, lots of those are 20-bushel beans. But on the good moisture-holding land, we’re cutting off 50-bushel beans that are pretty good.”
Some farmers are reaching record yields. Glen Canham at Avonmore — about 30 minutes north of Cornwall — started soybean harvest on Sept. 17, his earliest start ever. After harvesting half of his fields — about 250 acres — his yields were around 55 bu/ac. While he expects the second half to be slightly lower than the first half, he anticipates breaking his record of about 49 bu/ac, thanks to earlier-than-normal planting and a few timely rains.
“I was anticipating good beans,” he said. “The beans looked good right through the summer.”
OMAFRA’s cropping systems specialist Scott Banks said soybean moisture levels have been anywhere from 11 to 18 per cent. He said a low number of white mould cases will help lead to average to above-average yields.
“Usually white mould’s been a real killer for us the last few years, and I think that’s not going to be as big of an issue this year,” he said.