BOTHWELL — The wheat came off early — or at least started to come off early — this summer in southwestern Ontario.
Growers report a generally good crop with decent or better yields. But the harvest stretched out longer than hoped as the early summer turned wet for a period, resulting in some quality issues. At least the current market value for even Grade 2 wheat helped sweeten that reality.
“The only saving grace is that the wheat price was still high enough,” observed Chuck Baresich of Bothwell-based Haggerty Creek Ltd., a cash-cropping and grain elevator operation.
Baresich explained Sept. 7 that wheat in his area was ready for harvest in the first week of July, just as it was deluged with 9 inches of rain. “Overall, the yields were strong, but the milling quality was poor. Probably half the crop has a condition issue. The pigs are going to eat their way through it.”
Mark Huston of Thamesville also cited rain at harvest as a problem this year. “It was not our best year as far as quality and yield, but it was a decent year for wheat, considering what the price was,” he said.
Matt Beischlag of Hagersville said he saved his “fantastic” crop at a Grade 2 by taking it off at 20 to 21% moisture and sending it all to the dryer. He won’t be using the straw in his chicken broiler operation this year — because of its degraded quality — and is switching to shavings instead. Still, he feels better off than producers who waited too long for perfect moisture levels before heading into the wheat fields with their combines.
In the Hanover area, Wally Schaus reported both excellent yield and quality on the 345 acres of wheat planted by of Schaus Land & Cattle Co this year. “We ran 117 bushels per acre, clean, at the elevator, with moisture and discounts,” exclaimed Schaus, adding that quality wasn’t affected “one iota.”
Carl Brubacher reported more middling performance at Carlotte Farms in Arthur. “We skimmed through the wheat okay,” Brubacher said. “It was not through the roof or anything. It was very dry, and a second application of nitrogen got no rain for a long time. We don’t know how much that hurt the yield in the end.”