Good Conditions for Ontario Winter Wheat Crop
Source: DePutter Publishing Ltd.
It’s a long time until next harvest, but there already seems to be good potential in the 2016 Ontario winter wheat crop.
Unlike last fall when overly wet weather meant a significant portion of the 2015 Ontario winter wheat crop was not planted until early November, producers are seeing much improved conditions this time around – most notably drier ground and a much brisker pace to the soybean harvest.
Indeed, Dale Cowan, senior agronomist/sales manager, Great Lakes Grain AGRIS Co-operative & Wanstead Farmers’ Co-operative, this week estimated provincial winter wheat seeding at about 40% complete already, with much of the remaining crop likely to get seeded over the next couple of weeks. (Planting deadlines in the largest winter wheat production areas of the province currently range from about mid-October until early November).
“We’ve probably got some of the best planting conditions we’ve had in some time – and we’re early as well,” Cowan said. “It bodes well for establishing wheat.”
Meanwhile, with conditions so favourable, Ontario producers are expected to put more wheat into the ground as well. Cowan earlier estimated winter wheat planted area could jump to around 950,000 to 1 million acres. If accurate, that would put acreage up almost 50% from the 675,000 acres planted the previous year and closer to the more recent high of just over 1 million acres in the fall of 2012.
With prices under pressure from a massive global supply, Cowan readily admitted the economics for wheat don’t look as attractive as for corn and soybeans. But he maintained that after two years in a row when it was a struggle for producers in the province to get the crop planted at all – mainly due to a late soybean harvest or poor weather, or both – winter wheat acreage is due for a rebound.
“I think there’s pent-up demand to plant some wheat,” he said.
And it’s just not all about prices, Cowan said, noting the fact corn and soybean yields generally improve with winter wheat in the rotation.
“We’ve got to get back to our rotations,” he said. “I know if you just do a budget on wheat versus corn and soybeans it doesn’t look attractive. But we need to get back to our rotations to improve the yields of those other crops.”
Cowan said it’s also likely there will be significant winter wheat acreage increase in the prime growing area of Essex County after growers there suffered through a miserable, wet spring that delayed planting of corn and soybean crops. In all likelihood, some of those bean crops are so badly delayed they might not even finish, he said, adding there was also about 10,000 acres of farmland that didn’t get seeded at all that will probably now go back into winter wheat this fall
Growers in Lambton County, another traditional big winter wheat producer, had their struggles with wet weather this spring as well.
“In those areas, I think we’ll see a lot of wheat get planted,” Cowan said.
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