Crop producers hoping for repeat of 2015
BY ANGELA BROWN
News Staff For Glengarry Soil and Crop Improvement Association (SCIA) president Mark Fraser, the year ahead for local crop producers will feature change and, he hopes, a repeat of 2015’s yields.
At the local SCIA annual general meeting in Alexandria recently, the Maxville producer was optimistic crop producers would have a “good growing year ahead.” He relates, last year’s production cycle had “some of the best growing conditions anyone has ever seen.”
Mr. Fraser grows corn, soybeans and wheat at Fraserloch Farms which he operates with his wife, Jade, and parents Jack and Linda Fraser.
He said some of the challenges for producers going into 2016 will be low commodity prices. However, he added “one saving grace” is the low Canadian dollar has helped domestic sales.
However, farmers purchasing farm equipment from the U.S. are facing higher prices.
Mr. Fraser said there appears to be a lot of corn, wheat and soybeans still available in stor- age from last year’s harvest. “Apparently it’s more than in other years.”
He added the supply “all changes” if the U.S. or South America experiences any type of severe weather that may damage crops or cause production delays. As a result, any type of food shortage impacts the market for crop sales, he said, adding: “It all depends on the weather.”
Mr. Fraser said for the past few years Glengarry farmers have been hampered by a killing frost during the growing season. Last year frost caused damages late May and in September, 2014. “As long as we don’t get anything too extreme, we’ll be OK,” he said. “For two years in a row we have been close to losing a lot of crop.”
In his report, outgoing Glengarry SCIA president Donald MacLachlan said despite an early frost in 2015, last year was “a year to remember” for Glengarry producers who enjoyed “record-breaking yields” in corn, soybeans and wheat.
Farmers were also able to complete some endof-the-year jobs on the farm “right up to Christmas Eve” when temperatures reached 19 degrees.
“I recall one dairy farmer stating that this year was the first time ever that they harvested five cuts of alfalfa hay on their farm,” said Mr. MacLachlan, adding this is “another testament to how fortunate we are here in Glengarry County.”
Provincial restrictions on using neonicotinoidtreated seed for corn and soybeans continues to concern local farmers.
“Ontario is the only place in North America with these regulations,” Mr. Fraser said. ”It’s getting everyone’s attention.” He added the province’s timelines for farmers to cut back on using seeds treated with this insecticide “is changing all the time.”
“It could add a lot of paperwork, a lot of cost, or just reduce yields,” Mr. Fraser added. “It will affect the bottom line. It’s happening so fast, there are too many unknowns. That is the biggest problem. If it wasn’t happening in the span of a year or a year-and-a-half it might be different. It’s come so quickly, it’s almost scary.”
The recent annual general meeting was a good opportunity for area producers to learn about changes in the industry and share ideas.
While about 30 attended, “We would always like to see more,” added Mr. Fraser.
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