SOUTHWESTERN ONTARIO — The soybean harvest didn’t break any speed records in Southwestern Ontario this fall as a significant portion of the crop remained stubbornly untouched by combines as a soggy October turned to November.
And while the crop overall has been good, it appears to have fallen short of the absolute yield record predicted by forecasters earlier. “Overall average to slightly above average,” Dale Cowan said Nov. 2. The AGRIS Coop agronomist estimated the average yield to be in the 53 to 54 bushel range in southwestern Ontario.. “It’s not a disappointing crop by any stretch, but the promise of a new record has not materialized because of the range of yields.”
He’s heard of fields producing 40 bu/ac on the low side, and up to 78 on the high side. On that variability, much of it due to excess moisture, Cowan quipped: “Farmers are talking about two crops: The soybeans are running over 60 and the soybeans are running under 40. Every farmer I’ve talked to has those two crops.”
For a number of producers, this has been a frustrating year of spending some money to dry beans down to their desired 13% level — disappointing when Mother Nature usually does the entire job — with the accompanying risk of splits in the dryer.
However, some producers managed to get all their beans off earlier when conditions were dry, avoiding later delays and untimely drying costs.
“I was one of the fortunate ones,” London area crop farmer Marcel Meyer said. He managed to harvest a “very good crop” of soybeans — all of them — from his 80 planted acres before conditions turned wet in early October.
“I think one of my wettest loads was 13.6% so I’m not complaining,” Meyer remarked.
On the downside, Meyer has terrible-looking winter wheat planted right after his fortuitous soybean harvest. The cereal crop couldn’t avoid the later excess moisture and has suffered in the saturated soil, leaving sparse patches between each tile run. “I don’t think we’ll be keeping that crop in,” he said.
Henry Van Ankum, of Alma, said he pulled off an average of 60 bu/ac on 500 soybean acres. His harvest was also complete by the beginning of October. “It was a pretty nice crop this year, close to a record.”
Outside Sarnia, Julie Maw was yielding over 50 bu/ac but also reported that winter wheat planted into the recently harvested soybean fields didn’t fare well, suffering badly from “wet feet” and poor emergence.
Cowan suggested only about 60% of the intended winter wheat crop was planted as the window rapidly closed on that option during the first week of November.
Stan Brien of Chatham/Kent reported harvesting 59 bu/ac from his soybeans, and getting them off in good time. He believes there were many fields of 60-plus bu/ac soybeans harvested in his region this year — right on or better than the prediction of the two most popular crop forecasts.