By Connor Lynch
BADEN — Waterloo region crop farmer Jeff Hunsberger was planting corn in some of his sandier soils and by late April, had planted over half of his annual acres. That’s about a month earlier than last year.
Combines across Western and Southwestern Ontario were rolling early last month. Some were making remarkable progress. Listowel-area farmer Doug Jonhston finished planting corn by April 27, five weeks earlier than last year.
Said Hunsberger: “It’s not a bad way to start the season. Mind you, right now you’re questioning why you’re planting corn.”
Corn prices have been getting mauled by drop in oil demand, which has in turn pushed down ethanol demand. About a third of Ontario’s corn goes to ethanol production. But Hunsberger, like many farmers, didn’t change up his acreage. Rotation is just too important. Plus, Hunsberger said, a lot can change by the time marketing that corn happens.
For many crop farmers, if it wasn’t business as usual, it was close enough. Supplies, including fertilizer, parts for farm machinery and other crop inputs were flowing smoothly through April and into May. There was some anxiety in farm country about possible slowdowns and some farmers took time to prepare. Said Hunsberger: “We made sure we had inventory of standard-wear parts that would be needed. Just little things like, one tire on our sprayer was questionable. We bought a new tire and put it on. Didn’t want to be in a bind.”
As for social distancing with COVID-19, apart from not being able to drop in at the farm store, not much has changed. “In April and May, I’m self-isolated anyway,” he said.
It was a similar story for Perth County’s Kyle Martin. He got some extra chemicals and stored them. Fertilizer was moving well and all his seed arrived early.
“Everyone seems to have stocked up,” Martin said. “It looks pretty good.”
WESTERN ONTARIO: Corn planting starts early with supply chains intact
By Connor Lynch