By Tom Collins
NAPANEE — This year is seeing a slow start to planting corn and soybeans for most Eastern Ontario crop farmers as fields were saturated with water through most of April.
An above-average amount of snow during the winter was followed by a large amount of rainfall and cool temperatures in the first three weeks of April, leaving farmers stuck in their equipment sheds waiting for the fields to dry.
Independent agronomist Gilles Quesnel said no one was in the field as of April 22. “It took a long time for the snow to completely disappear,” he said. “Things never really warmed up.”
The delayed start shouldn’t be a worry, however, as growers have the equipment to plant 80 per cent of their crop within a week when the weather is good, he said.
Harvex agronomist Barton Simpson said planting season is still on time as the majority of planting usually occurs from May 4-11, he said. In Central and Eastern Ontario after May 10, farmers who continue planting corn might see a one per cent yield loss per day.
Napanee’s Eric Kaiser is often the first Eastern Ontario farmer in the field planting corn and is usually planting by April 15. However, this year he wasn’t expecting to get into the field until May, even on his tile-drained land.
Soybean planting doesn’t see a significant yield hit until after May 20. Planting between May 21 and June 5 could mean as much as an eight per cent yield loss, OMAFRA reports.