WINCHESTER — Five weeks without rain starting at the end of June “don’t make” a good corn crop. But Eastern Ontario’s crop is coming through a stiff drought stronger than it had any right to.
Brian Como, who farms near Winchester, wrapped up his corn harvest late last month. His 360 acres came off in four long, non-consecutive days. Recurring rain and cool temperatures put a damper on harvest momentum.
Yields are definitely down from the farm average of 190 bu/ac, he said, and test weights were light. But it was coming in dry at least, and it’s not as though he went into harvest expecting a bin-buster.
He was one of the very few farmers who finished corn harvest last month.
Some were just getting started and most of those who had gotten rolling hadn’t gotten too far, though some were as much as half completed.
Independent agronomist Gilles Quesnel estimated harvest progress at 15 per cent by the end of October.
Excellent yields exist but are few and far between. For most growers, harvest will likely shake out as below average. Which is not bad at all given the year, he said. Lack of moisture is an obvious problem. Many fields struggled with emergence and lost as many as 5,000 plants per acre. Overnight lows in September cost the plants a lot of heat.
Overall heat units are probably down by about 100 CHU from the long-term average, he said.
Eastern Ontario’s yield expectations are a long way from a global record for corn yield that everyone began hoping for months ago.
This year’s Great Ontario Yield Tour estimated an awesome 183.3 bu/ac for Ontario but 159 bu/ac in Eastern Ontario. That’s still above the five-year average of 154.9 bu/ac and last year’s 143.8 bu/ac.