By Tom Collins
Many Ontario growers are ecstatic about this year’s top crops, projecting big yields out of corn and soybeans.
Maizex Seeds forecasts that Ontario will smash the record for both crops. The company’s Great Ontario Yield Tour projects corn yields to be at 179.5 bushels per acre, crushing the current record of 169 bu/ac in 2015. Maizex also expects soybeans to yield a 50.2 bu/ac average, breaking the 48.3 bu/ac record set in 2012.
In the area from London to Woodstock “there’s going to be a lot of records set this year,” Maizex director of business management Steve Denys said. The Maizex tour goes from Chatham-Kent right up to the Ottawa Valley. Of 19 counties scouted, 13 will set corn records and 12 will set soybean records, he said.
This comes as a shock to some farmers, considering planting was late, the summer started too dry and August was too wet.
“It’s definitely a really great crop around here,” said Strathroy-area dairy and cash crop farmer Andrew Campbell, whose farm record is in the 225-230 bu/ac range. “I’d be very disappointed if we’re under 200. If it’s not a record, I’m thinking top three (of all time).”
Listowel dairy and cash crop farmer Doug Johnston said the crops in his area are “phenomenal.” He doesn’t expect a record-breaker as there are too many areas dealing with a poor crop. He does think this year will rank among the best.
“You never know until the combine hits,” he said. “They look like 60 bushel beans right now but they could be 50 or they could be 70. How do you know? Until it’s in the bin, I’m never going to count on that. We could get a hail crop tomorrow, and guess what, that record yield is no yield now.”
Ralph Kuebler, owner of Kuebler Farms Elevator at Denfield in Middlesex County expected a top five yield for corn and soybeans. Along with the rain and the heat, constant humidity in August helped push the corn and soybeans to higher yields, he said. In spite of many farmers replanting because it was so dry that the corn did not germinate, “It’s going to be a pretty good crop.”
Maizex agronomy lead Greg Stewart called this summer a perfect growing season. “The combination of dry early and a lot of rain late is the magical formula for record yields,” he said.
OMAFRA corn specialist Ben Rosser said fields that caught rain early on look great and a record yield overall is “certainly believable.”
OMAFRA soybean specialist Horst Bohner said he no longer makes yield estimates but noted that soybeans in Perth and Huron counties are seeing some of the best yields he’s ever seen, while Niagara region and parts of Bruce, Grey and Lambton are struggling. “There’s no question we have fields out there that will be just tremendous. In areas where they struggled with moisture for so long, it’s going to be a disappointment.”
Statistics Canada is not so optimistic. Based on a July 6 to Aug. 1 survey of Canadian farms, StatCan estimates 160 bu/ac average yield for Ontario grain corn, which would be the second-lowest corn crop of the past six years. StatCan also projects 44.9 bu/ac for soybeans which would be the lowest yield since 2009.