By Tom Collins
LAMBTON — Some Western Ontario farmers are expecting to smash soybean yield records. Others are just hoping for average.
Grain Farmers of Ontario (GFO) delegate Kevin Marriott said Lambton County farmers are reporting early yields between 50 to 70 bushels per acre. Marriott’s yields averaged 68 bu/ac on one-third of his 550 acres as of Oct. 3. That average would beat his previous record by nine bu/ac and is significantly higher than last year’s 46 bu/ac. And Marriott believed the best was yet to come as longer-day beans still needed to be harvested.
The news gets better considering Lambton wheat yields were 20 per cent above average and higher than average across Southern and Western Ontario. On the other hand, producers are looking at average to below-average corn yields.
“When you put the three together, that’s better than you ever expect,” Marriott said. “You never expect two-out-of-three to smash records by that much and have the third one average. There’s nothing to complain about.”
Lambton is the soybean capital of Ontario, planting about 10 per cent of Ontario’s soybean acres last year at 328,000 acres, which is 100,000 acres more than any other county.
Al Williamson, of Lambton Shores, also believed he could be in for a record as he estimated yields will be in the 50s. His long-term average is mid-40s. There was a time in early August when the beans were dry, but a timely rain saved the crop, he said. “If we didn’t get the rain when we did, it would have been a disaster.”
The five-year Western Ontario average is 45.8 bu/ac and 46.5 bu/ac for Southern Ontario.
Grower Jeff Davis said there could also be a record yield in Elgin County. He said most early yields have been in the high 50s to high 60s with 10 to 15 per cent of the beans harvested by Oct. 4.
“I was expecting above average,” he said. “But it’s a lot more above average than we anticipated.”
Yields across the province are wide-ranging. One East-Central Ontario farmer posted a photo showing one field yielding nine bu/ac but most farmers there are dealing with yields from 20 to 40 bu/ac. There are reports that some Niagara region farmers might wind up with zero bushels due to lack of rain.
Some Essex County farmers were ready to start harvest when a deluge of rain fell in late September. A state of emergency was called when the Windsor area was hit by 135 mm of rain and nearby Tecumseh got 190 mm in 24 hours. That was followed by another 40 to 60 mm within a few days.
Essex County farmer Brendan Byrne said five inches of rain fell on his property and the rainwater was still draining off fields as of Oct. 3.
“I don’t think it will really affect anything because the soybeans were close to harvest,” he said.
John McRoberts, at Innerkip in Oxford County, has heard of soybean yields ranging between 30 bu/ac to 70 bu/ac and figured growers there will have an average yield. Some area growers went six weeks without rain.
“There’s going to be some excellent fields and some poorer fields,” he said. “If it works out average, I figure guys will be happy, given the summer we had.”