Local yields lagged behind provincial average
As the land slowly emerges from a blanket of ice and snow, farmers are looking ahead to another planting season.
In 2017, after a year of uncertainty, warmer, drier fall weather allowed many crops to reach maturity and led to better-than-expected yields, according to Agricorp, the provincial agency that administers risk management programs in Ontario.
Corn producers planted over 1.5 million acres in 2017 and reported an average yield of 186 bushels per acre. Soybean producers planted over 2 million acres and reported an average yield of 44 bushels per acre.
The provincial average yield for soybeans was in line with the ten-year average.
However, regional averages were below the Ontario mean. In Stormont-Dundas-Glengarry, most areas had yields of 40 to 45 bushels, although some pockets reported higher returns, reaching 50 to 55 bushels per acre. Prescott-Russell was consistently below the provincial average, ranging from 30 to 35 bushels.
Province-wide, corn yields were higher than average, at 184 bushels per acre. Again, yields in the east- ern counties were lower. In SDG, harvests produced anywhere from 130 to 170 bushels. Prescott-Russell’s returns were in the range of 90 to 110 bushels per acre.
Managing weather risks
Ontario's agri-food sector is one of the largest contributors to the provincial economy. Producers behind this vital industry face many unique risks beyond their control – a big one is the weather.
Every year, farmers somewhere in the province face challenging weather that can lead to difficult planting, growing and harvesting conditions.
In 2017, wet, cool and stormy weather in the spring led to delayed planting and caused damage to planted crops in areas across Ontario.
In 2016, abnormally dry weather across Ontario caused stress to crops, lowered yields and reduced the availability of forage.
Federal and provincial programs like AgriStability, Production Insurance and Ontario's Risk Management Program (RMP) help farmers deal with the impacts of challenging weather and other farm risks. In 2017, these three programs covered over $5 billion in liability.
SOUND INVESTMENT: Wet growing conditions underline the importance of drainage, which helps improve yields.