By Connor Lynch
Ontario’s 2019 soybean acreage is a record-setter, according to OMAFRA.
That’s not exactly a cause for celebration. Soybeans can be tough on the soil, and many producers planted soybeans because they had to, not because they wanted to.
OMAFRA’s final planting estimate for 2019 was a cool 3.1-million acres of soybeans, up from 3-million acres last year. Corn was surprisingly high as well at 2.2-million acres, just over the 2.1-million acres planted in 2018 and on par with the record set and tied in 2012 and 2013.
This year’s rough planting season pushed producers heavily in the direction of soybeans, since they handle late planting much better than grain corn. Some producers, however, went the other way, swapping out soybeans for corn, since the U.S.-China trade war had so badly mauled soybean prices.
Soybeans are stubborn little plants, and they’re jealous of their nutrients. They take a lot of nutrients out of the soil and don’t give too much back, said OMAFRA soybean expert Horst Bohner. You don’t need to worry about them eviscerating your soil’s organic matter, unless you’ve been growing them continuously in the same field for 20 years, he said.
But soybeans like at least a three-year rotation, ideally a four-year rotation, he said, and producers cutting that window down can end up paying for it in yield. A three-year rotation takes about five per cent off the yield potential of that crop, but pushing it to two can mean a 10 per cent loss of yield potential. That number gets higher if you have disease or pest pressure, which also tends to increase the more you have soybeans in that ground. Soybean cyst nematode, for example, tends to build in the first year it’s in a field, showing few or no symptoms, before it becomes a problem the next year.
Ontario planted record soybean acreage: OMAFRA
By Connor Lynch