Early results from the annual Great Lakes Grain Crop Assessment Tour, which began Aug. 29, indicate Ontario’s corn and soybean crops should meet average yield and quality measures.
Data gathered during the tour comes from 500 sites ranging from Windsor to Barrie, the Ottawa Valley, and beyond. Participating farmers and industry partners – including AGRIS Co-operative, FS PARTNERS, and Coop Embrun – scout and report yield estimates, crop progress and overall crop health. The tour ended Sept. 9 and final results were presented at Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show.
Why it matters: The Great Lakes Grain tour helps Ontario growers know what to expect at harvest.
Speaking from an AGRIS Stoney Point facility on Aug. 31, Don Kabbes, general manager for Great Lakes Grain, said there were few surprises but it was clear that drought conditions in July had an impact on corn.
“This year – we say it every year – it’s variability. We had corn that was knee high and looked like it was tasseling, and we had corn that was normal, but the drought really affected it…Last year in the crop tour, all the corn was dented. We had a record corn crop. This year the corn doesn’t quite look the same.”
Parched conditions had less impact on soybeans, although root rots were noticed in Lambton County, where moisture was excessive earlier in the season and again after weeks of heat and clear skies.
“Soybeans are advancing probably faster this year than other years. Normally we don’t see this much yellowing of the beans at this time of year,” said Kabbes, while visiting a soybean plot north of Comber.
He also noted little visible disease pressure and insect pests weren’t prominent either. Spider mites were a factor given dry conditions and aphid pressure in Eastern Ontario was noted.
“I know some of this corn rootworm is getting resistant in some areas and I don’t think we’ve seen too much of that. The corn borer is always an issue as well, and this year, did more fungicide go on than in other years, or less? And when they’re going across with fungicide, they might be throwing an insecticide in there too.
“That whole month of July without rain really affected things,” Kabbes said, but “there’s a better feeling today than there was a month ago. I think we can expect an average to slightly below average corn crop and average to slightly above average soybeans.”