By Connor Lynch
GUELPH — Many Western Ontario corn growers are pleasantly surprised by this year’s crop.
Guelph-based OMAFRA corn specialist Ben Rosser told Farmers Forum that yields are decent, harvest is rolling out on schedule, and overall the crop looks surprisingly good. Many growers were concerned early in the year but a blast of heat through mid-September into early October pushed much of the crop into maturity, he said.
Laurent Van Arkel, who farms at Dresden in Kent County, said that his crop has been drier than expected as average moisture is down to almost 20 per cent. As of Nov. 1, he had been harvesting for one week and said that yields were average, test weights were a little low but quality was decent.
In Middlesex County, grower Frank Dietrich was delighted halfway into harvest as yields were hovering around an astounding 220 bu/ac. Yields have been 30 bu/ac to 40 bu/ac higher than he was expecting with the dry summer in his area. Yet moisture content was high, at around 27 per cent. Test weights are low, but vomitoxin is “perfect,” he said. “They say it’s so good you don’t need to test it.”
In Oxford County, Norwich Township farmer Dan Alyea said that he was also getting above average yields. Test weights were low and moisture was a bit high, close to 30 per cent. “We’ve done some as low as 22 per cent, but that’s the driest we’ve done so far,” he said.
Statistics Canada is projecting near-record high yields for corn in Ontario this year. It estimates farms in Ontario will be averaging yields of 169.5 bushels per acre, close to the 2015 record of 170.6 bu/ac and well above Western Ontario’s five-year average of 157.1 bu/ac.