By Connor Lynch
April was the cruelest month for cash crop farmers, with few opportunities to get any corn into cold, wet ground.
Cash crop farmer Joe de Brouwer, who farms south of Chatham, was one of the first in the field, planting 50 acres of corn on April 13. As of May 1, de Brouwer had finished at least 10 per cent of his overall acres.
It’s a relatively early planting date for de Brouwer, who once got in the field as early as April 10, but typically would start closer to the end of April. But a cold and wet spring meant that only sandy soils were ready to go. “Some of the heavier ground is not even close to ready yet,” de Brouwer said.
Crop farmer Andy Pasztor, at Port Burwell in Elgin County, got some corn in the ground on April 26 and 27, about 130 acres, about an average start time for him. The rain hasn’t been as much of an issue on his sandier soils. “An inch of rain doesn’t really hold us up that much. Normally the next day we can get going again,” he said.
Brendan Byrne, who farms just outside of the town of Essex, said he hadn’t seen anyone getting started as of April 30. “It’s too cold and wet. It started to dry up a bit, but then we had a couple of rain showers in the last week (of April),” setting producers back again. Byrne said that with rain forecast for later in the week, he wasn’t expecting to start planting before mid-May.
Kent County farmer Gus Terneoy hadn’t started planting as of May 1, and wasn’t expecting to get any corn in the ground before mid-May. The ground is just too cold and wet for the conventional tiller to get in yet. “Everyone’s restless. But even the no-till guys haven’t touched anything yet.”