Best yields for corn, soybeans and winter wheat
WESTERN ONTARIO — It’s official: The province’s corn, soybean and winter wheat growers reaped record yields in 2021, according to Statistics Canada. And not only was it a chart-topping year for Ontario’s grains and oilseeds producers, hay fields also proved abundant for many livestock farmers growing their own feed for beef and dairy herds.
In 2021, Ontario produced the highest average yields ever recorded for corn (175.2 bu/ac), soybeans (51.6 bu/ac) and winter wheat (90.9 bu/ac), Statistics Canada reported. But it might be even better than that for corn.
“When all is said and done, Ontario may be very close to 200 bu/a corn last year” and “better than 50 bu/a in soybeans,” Steve Kell, Simcoe County grain farmer and elevator operator, told the annual Ontario Agricultural conference in January, relaying information he attributed to a recent crop insurance meeting.
Ontario’s Great Lakes basin in general, Kell added, enjoyed great corn and soybean crops. On the strength of production in places like Michigan, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania, the U.S. either set an outright new record for corn production in 2021 or else tied with 2016, while soybean output fell just short of the 2018 mark, he said.
2021 was also a record-breaking year for overall Ontario output. No other year produced so much corn or winter wheat. Ontario farmers produced 373-million bushels of corn and 98.16 million bushels of winter wheat. Last year was the second best overall production year for soybeans at 150 million bushels. As testament to the big yields per acre, that overall output came off at less than record amount of seeded land. Ontario farmers seeded 2.13 million acres of corn and 2.9 million acres of soybeans, ranking 5th among years for both crops for most seeded acres. Ontario farmers planted 1.08 million acres of winter wheat last year, the third highest year for seeded winter wheat acres.
“The past two years, we’ve had tremendous luck between heat and rain. We’ve been very, very lucky,” Mount Forest-area dairy farmer Jamie Farrell said, acknowledging 2021 as the “best year ever” for the combination of corn, soybeans and alfalfa grown at his operation.
Farrell said he yielded 211 bu/ac in corn and, in his first time growing soybeans, harvested 52 bu/ac. “I was quite happy with that,” adding the “stars really aligned” on the corn as well.
“The quality of the forages has been really good this year … exceptional … with minimal mycotoxin pressure,” observed Art Groenewegan, Grand Valley Fortifiers dairy sales manager.
Groenewegan added the quantities harvested also “nicely replenished” on-farm inventories of forages, “and people are sitting on a pretty good quantity of feed now.”
“On the right land, I’ve never seen the crops better,” Elmwood beef and crop farmer Wally Schaus said. His lowest performing 135 acres of corn still produced 198 bu/ac, he said, while his best 102 acres yielded 229 bu/ac.
The farm’s 900-plus acres of soybeans averaged just shy of 66 bu/ac, ranging from 48 bu/ac to 73 bu/ac. Eighty-plus acres of hay also gave plenty. “We didn’t take a third cut off. We had enough with first and second,” Schaus said.