WESTERN ONTARIO: Another yield boom?
Expect strong corn and soybean yields, forecasters say
ONTARIO — Great Lakes Grain is projecting strong Ontario corn and soybean yields this fall — but not a provincial record. The company’s 14th annual crop assessment tour predicts average yields of 199.9 bu/ac for corn and 48.6 bu/ac for soybeans.
The current Ontario corn yield record is 200 bu/ac, set in 2021, according to Agricorp. The soybean record is 53 bu/ac, a mark reached in 2021 and 2018. The 10-year yield average is 179 bu/ac for corn and 48 bu/ac for soybeans, Agricorp reported.
The provincial yields forecasted by Great Lakes Grain, while not record-breaking, are still higher than the historical average, though “not as good as we’ve had in the last couple of years,” the company’s Jim Irvine told Farmers Forum. “I think in the higher heat unit areas, there is still a lot of potential for expanded yields,” he added.
The company’s projection is slightly more conservative than the rival Great Ontario Yield Tour, which foresees record-breaking yield for both crops: 203 bu/ac of corn on average and 53.5 bu/ac of soybeans.
“Weather has been a challenge this year,” Irvine pointed out. “The start of harvest for both crops was delayed as maturity fell behind average during a cooler than average summer. In September, fingers were crossed in the hope that the crops — especially corn — would catch up before the arrival of the season’s first frost. The delayed soybean harvest will likely cut down on the number of winter wheat acres planted after beans.”
The Great Lakes Grain tour foresees that Wellington County will lead southwestern Ontario and the rest of the province in average corn yield (206.6 bu/ac), followed by Huron County (205.3 bu/ac) and Waterloo Region (205.2 bu/ac). It projects the top soybean yields in Simcoe County (54.4 bu/ac), Bruce County (53.3 bu/ac) and Chatham-Kent (53.1 bu/ac).
While both crops were up to two weeks behind in maturity in August, Environment Canada’s senior climatologist David Phillips said everything changed thanks to warmer and drier weather that should extend straight through fall. “I couldn’t think of a more ideal fall,” Phillips told Farmers Forum.
At the same time the corn crop stands over 10-feet high in some areas. The crops have been extra lush thanks to high rainfall during the 2023 growing season — which some have linked to a natural event: the December 2021 eruption of an undersea volcano in the country of Tonga in the Pacific Ocean and north of New Zealand.
According to NASA, the huge Tonga blast vaporized so much extra fresh water into the atmosphere, it may take several years for the water to come back down.