News & Information

Ontario Corn Yield Potential Looking Strong

If the early results trickling in now manage to hold up through the remainder of the harvest, it appears Ontario may have a big corn crop on its hands this year.

A handful of the earliest planted fields in the province are yielding above 200 bu/acre, with the added benefit of moisture levels down around 22%, Maizex agronomist Greg Stewart said in an interview yesterday.

“It looks really strong; so that’s exciting for those guys that have early contracted corn.”

Even outside of those early harvest results, Stewart said his assessment of this year’s crop suggested average to above average yields, with no particular areas in the province where the crop really ended up struggling. The only real exception, he said, was Essex County where overly wet conditions through planting and into June made for a miserable start to the growing season and prevented some corn from even getting planted in the first place.

That said, Stewart described the overall crop as somewhat “ragged,” with growth and development negatively impacted by a May frost and widespread excess rain in June.

“The plus side is there really isn’t a bad spot in the province in terms of weather that really beat (the crop) up, outside of Essex County. Really, throughout the province, it’s pretty decent. It’s tough to find a really bad spot. I can’t imagine we don’t have a crop that’s not average or better, and maybe significantly better than average.”

In its August crop production report, Statistics Canada estimated the average Ontario corn yield at just under 158 bu/acre, down slightly from 161 bu a year earlier but basically on par with the five-year average. The record high was achieved in 2010 at 164 bu/acre.

Corn seeded area is higher in Ontario this year as well, up around 2 million acres versus 1.8 million a year earlier.

In addition to the good yield potential, Stewart said it also appears crop quality will be good this year, with test weights much improved from 2014. Ideally, however, the crop could have done without the heat that hit much of the province toward the latter part of August and into September.

“To be honest, we didn’t need 30 degree C days over the last month to finish this crop,” he said. “In fact, had we knocked those temperatures down a bit, we might have been looking at better yields. Some of this corn, with those 30 degree C spells, it pushed it pretty hard. That’s a good thing for not combining corn on Christmas Eve but it probably pushed some hybrids, some fields, a little harder than they needed to be pushed in terms of maximizing total grain weight.”

Given the drier and hotter late summer and early fall weather, Stewart said there’s no doubt this year’s harvest will be earlier, noting those farmers putting up high moisture silage corn in particular will need to keep a close eye on rapidly dropping moisture levels to ensure they don’t miss their window of opportunity.

“We’ve got corn at moistures right now that we would have liked to have seen in by Nov. 1 last year,” he said. “It’s a stark contrast to the wet, low test weight corn we had to take off last year.”

Source: DePutter Publishing Ltd.

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