Late-sea­son weather rally saves re­gion’s corn crop

The Beacon Herald - - LOCAL NEWS - HANK DANISZEWSKI POST­MEDIA NEWS

A sur­prise late-sea­son rally has res­cued South­west­ern On­tario’s vi­tal corn crop.

“The weather from mid-Septem­ber through mid-Oc­to­ber was amaz­ing and saved the corn crop, no ques­tion,” said Peter John­son, an agron­o­mist with RealA­gri­cul­ture.com, a busi­ness web­site for farm­ing.

John­son said he’s heard from farm­ers with yields as high as 300 bushels an acre on some fields and many are more than 200 bushels an acre.

“We have farm­ers out there with the best corn yields ever. I think it will be a very good corn year, on av­er­age,” said John­son

But not ev­ery­one has done well in the re­gion, one of the na­tion’s rich­est farm belts and one where corn is one of the big­gest crops.

Some ar­eas, es­pe­cially north of Lon­don, have lower yields and qual­ity prob­lems due to the short­ened sea­son and not enough rain.

John­son said about half of the corn crop has been har­vested but the first snow of the sea­son last Thurs­day idled the com­bines es­pe­cially in ar­eas north and west of Lon­don.

There wasn’t enough snow in the Wood­stock area to keep Kevin Arm­strong from har­vest­ing his corn right through the week. By Fri­day, the hard freeze kept his com­bine from bog­ging down in the fields.

Arm­strong said his yields are about 200 bushels an acre.

“The corn yields are pretty de­cent. I have seen some pock­ets in our fields over 250 bushels. I can’t com­plain at all,” he said.

Ear­lier in the spring, the re­gion’s corn crop ap­peared to be in peril be­cause of soggy, cool weather that forced farm­ers to push the dead­line for plant­ing,

Arm­strong didn’t start plant­ing un­til mid-May, about a week to ten days later than av­er­age. Things still looked grim as a rel­a­tively cool sum­mer didn’t give corn the heat it needed and then there were fears of an early frost. But the weather stayed un­usu­ally warm and dry well into Oc­to­ber.

The good corn crop makes up for a me­diocre soy­bean har­vest this year, said John­son. Au­gust is a key month for soy­beans but there wasn’t enough heat or mois­ture that month to move the crop along.

Farm­ers also are fac­ing a tough mar­ket when it comes to sell­ing their corn and soy­beans, with prices driven down by a com­bi­na­tion of big U.S. yields and a rise in the value of the Cana­dian dol­lar.

John­son said about 850,00 acres of win­ter wheat have been planted this fall, a good-sized crop but not a record.

Arm­strong said his wheat is off to a great start.

“It started run­ning as soon as we put it in the ground,” he said.

DEREK RUTTAN/POST­MEDIA NEWS

Wood­stock-area farmer Kevin Arm­strong har­vests corn Sun­day. A hard freeze meant he still was able to get on his fields de­spite re­cent light snow­fall. He’s see­ing “pretty de­cent” yields av­er­ag­ing about 200 bushels an acre.

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