By Connor Lynch
Despite the dismal spring and, in some areas, droughty summer, many producers were delighted with average yields, said OMAFRA’s soybean specialist Horst Bohner.
With soybean harvest about 90 per cent done by the end of October in Western Ontario, producers were reporting yields from anywhere from mid-30 bushels per acre to as much as over 70 bu/ac. “That’s pretty incredible considering the late planting window most of us suffered through,” with most of the crop going in about a month late, Bohner said.
“That’s the thing about soybeans. They make their yield in the last half of the season,” said agronomist Dale Cowan.
Not everyone was above or at average. Ripley crop farmer Mark McLean was blunt: “Our soybeans sucked.”
But many farmers were getting much better beans than they were expecting, Cowan said. The long-term average for fields west of London was in the 46 bu/ac range. Many producers were getting 50 bu/ac, Cowan said.
That’s also well above Statistics Canada’s projected 43.6 bu/ac average for Ontario soybeans, though down below last year’s record high average of 51.4 bu/ac. Western Ontario yielded 52.6 bu/ac beans last year, according to OMAFRA, well above Ontario’s five-year average of 47 bu/ac.
Chris Renwick, who cash crops 800 acres at Wheatley in Chatham-Kent, was hoping for 30 bu/ac because of a miserable spring. But his fields were yielding anywhere from 30 bu/ac, to 60 bu/ac, and by the time it was all said and done, he expected his overall average yield to be in the high 40s, right around average yields for his farm.
Near London, cash crop farmer Marcel Meyer was averaging 57 bu/ac, a little more than an average crop for him. He’s a bit of an exception, however; rains normally miss him, but he got unusually decent rain through the summer.
Farther north in Huron County, 1,000-acre cash cropper Dan Hayden had wrapped up soybean harvest by early October. Yields averaged 45 bu/ac, below his more normal 55 bu/ac. In July, it looked like he could have a bumper crop, he said. But August through September brought almost no rain to his farm. The beans were also excellent quality, with moisture content close to or at the 13 per cent target, he said, although a bit small, which is annoying for someone growing Identity Protected soybeans.
Meanwhile, between London and St. Thomas, cash crop farmer Dan Taylor got a surprisingly good send off for what he planned to be his last cropping year. Yields came out around 55 bu/ac, about normal for his farm and 7 bu/ac better than he was expecting.
“With a June 23 planting date, I was ecstatic (with those yields),” he said.
WESTERN ONTARIO: Stubborn soybeans earn their stripes as yields range from 30 to 70 bu/ac
By Connor Lynch