The recent Great Lakes Grain crop tour showed that Ontario crop farmers could be looking at a record corn crop that should dry down quickly to an early harvest.
“I think we’re doing pretty strong across the whole of southwestern Ontario, and I think we should see a good crop,” said Rachel Duesbury, grain originator for Great Lakes Grain (GLG) in Stoney Point, in reference to observations reported by GLG and AGRIS Co-operative staff during the 2021 crop tour.
Duesbury spoke with Farmtario Sept. 2, highlighting trends observed in Northern Essex County.
Why it matters: Good yields are welcome for Ontario farmers who also are receiving strong prices for corn and soybeans in 2021.
Tar spot has infected fields in Essex County but both high and low rates were observed. Other fungal infections such as penicillium were reported in other parts of the southwest and more fungicide has been applied.
In the corn field where Duesbury spoke, she said “here’s some tip back, some bird damage, but other than that the corn crop is pretty exceptional and I think we’re going to have great yields.”
White mould is an issue in some soybean fields. Though severity appears to somewhat correlate to the amount of moisture received over the summer, the association is not strong.
Average to above average soybean yields are expected. Plants in another Stoney Point-area field featured pods with two to three beans, three pods per node and pods extending to the top of the stalk.
“We’re seeing some sudden death in the beans, but it’s been pretty minimal too … basically all the beans are podded pretty solidly, nodes are tight, and I think we’re going to have a pretty good bean crop too.”
GLG crop tour observations indicate yields for harvest 2021 should be similar to those in 2020.
“Across southwest Ontario there’s been pockets where we’ve had too much rain, I think in the Dover area specifically,” says Duesbury. “That’s where we’re going to see these little pockets of differences where the yields maybe are going to be a little bit less.”
Great Lakes Grain’s Crop Assessment Tour includes the grain marking company’s staff and their FS System partners from across Ontario. The tour assessed 517 corn fields and 398 soybean fields.
Great Lakes Grain’s report says the early planting season was a good start for crops and there’s been little stress on those crops during the growing season.
“This is leading to very exciting corn and soybean yields, possibly new provincial records. Both corn and soybean crops are maturing earlier than normal, combined with a record wheat crop, there could potentially be storage issues this fall.”
Great Lakes Grain’s report says the corn crop is estimated to be at higher yield than last year’s crop and will likely be a new provincial record.
The increase in this year’s estimates is attributed to higher populations, girthier cobs and longer rows of kernels compared to previous years.
GLG expects to see early planted corn achieve harvest moisture in the low 20 per cent range by mid -September. The drier and warmer it stays the faster the dry down. This year’s data suggests that over 75 per cent of the corn fields are in the dent stage vs. 54 per cent in the 2020 crop and only 18 per cent in the 2019 crop.
Despite the likely strong yields, numerous fields were significantly deficient in nitrogen.
Western bean cutworm was found in almost every field across the province.
Soybean pod counts look to be similar to last year’s excellent yields, but there are some weak areas in fields from adverse weather in late spring. This has led to some smaller bean sizes.
In the later part of August, there was a much higher incidence but milder severity of some key diseases, the report said.
Lodging is still an issue in soybeans, the report said, with lodged plants producing half the pod counts of standing plants.
The large wheat crop in the province is still moving through elevators, so the GLG report said that adding a large soybean and corn crop could make harvest logistics and storage a challenge.