TRENTON — While farmers rejoiced over an early planting season, some soybean growers found themselves having to replant after a May 23 frost.
Larry Hutchinson, crop agronomist with TCO Agromart in Trenton, said soybeans planted around May 1 were really affected by the frost. One grower may have to replant 400 acres, while another will definitely have to replant 150 acres.
“When I got up where I live, it was like an October morning. It was white,” he said.
Corn was looking great until the frost, said Hutchinson on May 27. “It’s not looking so good now.”
Some corn was frosted to the ground but was young enough to recover.
David Phillips, senior climatologist with Environment Canada, said it the most serious frost in Prince Edward County in at least 60 years, as it lasted for five hours at minus 2 C. The last frost is usually around May 1. “It was a killing frost, not a touch of frost,” he said.
OMAFRA integrated pest management specialist Gilles Quesnel, based in Kemptville, said about two to three per cent of soybeans are being replanted.
It’s a combination of an unusually late frost and soybeans that are, on average, seven days ahead of normal.
The frost also had an impact on vineyards in Prince Edward County.
Sally Peck of Sugarbush Vineyards in Hillier and secretary of the Prince Edward County Winegrowers Association estimates that she lost 10 to 15 per cent of her 10 acres, but says the damage in the area was scattered. Vineyards closer to the water fared better than those further inland.
Peck has a 10-metre tall wind machine on her land which helped keep the losses down. The machine — which pushes high warm air to the ground — turns on once temperatures drop to a certain point.
“It turned on at midnight, and that’s never a good sign,” she said. “You know it’s pretty cold.”