Soybean, corn yields high in Ontario, despite drought

Southern Ontario suffered through weeks of blazing heat and no rain this summer, causing many farmers to fret about crop yields.

They shouldn’t have worried because soybean and corn yields are just fine.

“If you’re basically west of Toronto, (soybean) yields turned out phenomenally. The high 50s (bushels per acre) and low 60s are quite common,” said Dale Cowan, senior agronomist with Agris Cooperative in Ontario.

The corn harvest was just underway as of October 13, but early results looked decent in Ontario.

“We have some early corn coming off at 170 (bushels) to 240,” Cowan said.

“So it’s not the … disaster we’ve all been waiting for. There are pockets where corn will struggle to make 100 bushels because they didn’t get any rain, but it’s not widespread.”

The five-year average for corn yields in Ontario is 160 bu. per acre and for soybeans the five-year average is 45.5 bu.

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“Soybeans will be above average, and corn will probably be off the pace … I would guess at this point,” Cowan said.

The news is similar for soybeans in Manitoba, where the majority of the crop is in the bin. Many growers have reported yields of 45 to 55 bu. per acre.

“If I had to put an estimate on averages, I’d say provincially we’re looking at around 42 (bushels)…. That’s just an estimate,” said Dennis Lange, Manitoba Agriculture’s pulse specialist in Altona.

If bean yields hit that level, it would be a provincial record. The previous high was 39 bu. per acre, set last year and in 2013.

August rains saved the soybean crop in Ontario and helped boost yields in Manitoba.

“August rains make beans. I don’t care what beans look like in June and July, as long as it rains in August during pod fill,” Cowan said. ”

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It’s amazing how much … yield you can put on in August.”

Manitoba’s soybean crop also benefitted from a long growing season because spring arrived early and September was free of frost.

The strong yields mean Manitoba will set another record for soybean production because farmers seeded more than 1.6 million acres of the oilseed this spring.

Manitoba’s corn harvest is underway, but there are limited reports on yields, said Morgan Cott, a Manitoba Corn Growers Association agronomist.

Contact robert.arnason@producer.com

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