Ontario Winter Wheat Seeded Area Holds Up

Despite heavy losses in 2019, it looks like Ontario winter wheat planted area for harvest in 2020 will hold up.

In the latest update of his crop hotline this week, RealAgriculture agronomist Peter Johnson said just over 1 million total acres of winter wheat were planted in the province this fall, roughly on par with the previous year. What’s more, the bulk of those acres were seeded into relatively good conditions, compared to fall, 2018, he said.

“We weren’t fighting a lot of mud; the dirt was fairly dry. . . The biggest enemy of wheat is wet feet, and that’s what killed us last fall. This year, hopefully we don’t get that. Hopefully, that 1 million acres makes it through (the winter).”

For 2019, Statistics Canada reported Ontario winter wheat seeded area at 1.003 million acres. However, actual harvested area only ended up around 750,000 acres after a much larger portion of the crop than normal was ripped up in the spring because of poor stands.

Last year’s poor winter season, which featured plenty of ponding and sheets of ice, didn’t do the province’s winter wheat crop any favours, but it was really the wet, soggy and cold conditions during fall that really got the crop off on the wrong foot. Not only did plenty of the crop get planted beyond the ideal seeding window, but there just wasn’t enough heat past about the middle of October to get the crop germinated and emerged. In fact, some crops never emerged at all in the fall.

And while this year’s relatively early snow has been horrendous for the corn harvest, Johnson said the winter wheat crop has coped just fine.

In terms of varieties, Johnson said only about 3% or 30,000 acres of this fall’s total winter wheat seeded area was planted to Soft White Winter, down 1 percentage point from a year earlier. Soft White acres in the province have been trending lower for the past number of years, something Johnson chalked up to weak premiums.

On the other hand, Hard Red Winter acres increased about 1 percentage point to around 8% of the 2020 crop, Johnson said.

Meanwhile, Soft Red Winter will continue to make up the lion’s share of the Ontario winter wheat crop, accounting for 89% of all acres for 2020.

Source: DePutter Publishing Ltd.

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