By Tom Collins
BEACHBURG — The Trenton-area was the wettest place in Ontario this spring, said TCO Agromart agronomist Larry Hutchinson. One guy called up in late June and figured local farmers were replanting. But when Hutchinson told him they were planting for the first time, “the line went quiet.”
Many farmers in parts of Eastern and East-Central Ontario were left with a tough decision by June 20: Either plant soybeans into fields that weren’t eligible for crop insurance, or let those acres go unused over the summer.
Agricorp has different planting deadlines, ranging from May 31 to June 30. Most of Eastern Ontario has a June 30 deadline, but areas such as Renfrew, Kawartha Lakes and parts of Hastings, Peterborough, Northumberland, Durham, Frontenac and a small sliver of Lanark had a June 20 deadline.
Colin Deloughery and his father, Mark, sowed some soybeans on June 15 at their farm at Beachburg in Renfrew County, but about 45 mm of rain over the next three days put a halt to any chance of them finishing planting. Deloughery estimated he had about 50 acres of soybeans left to plant as of June 19, one day before his June 20 planting deadline. Deloughery said it was like that all spring.
“You try and get started and do something, and then it starts to rain,” he said.
Jon Bagshaw, who farms at Lindsay with his father Ed, said there was a lot of time spent waiting for the ground to dry as it was one of the wettest springs on record (See page A12 for rainfall records). Bagshaw, who had about 100 more acres to plant as of June 19, regrets not pushing harder at the start of planting season when he had the opportunity.
“This has been the most challenging season in recent history,” he said. “Even if you wanted to, there was nothing to do. The ground had just gotten too wet. Even the tile ground was tough. I am very concerned about this year with everything being so late. I’m concerned about my overall yield and just what this year is going to bring.”
Morrisburg’s Warren Schneckenburger still had 140 acres of soybeans to plant as of June 19. By Father’s Day last year, he was done side-dressing the corn and rows were filled in. “It’s been wet, slow and behind,” he said. “That about sums up the year.”
Independent agronomist Gilles Quesnel said many farmers got their soybeans in on time, with under 5 per cent of acres replanted. Replanting was due to less than ideal planting conditions, some crusting, seed corn maggots and compacted soils.