Lambton County could go from one of the worst winter wheat crops on record to one of the best.
That from Kevin Marriott of the Lambton County Grain Farmers.
Marriott says 2015 was a dismal year for Lambton County farmers as wet weather stopped many from planting winter wheat in the fall and then spring weather killed off a large number of acres.
But 2016 is shaping up to be a very good year. “It was looking the best we’ve had in almost my lifetime,” he says. “It went in nice and early last fall, we had enough rain to start it, and because we had such a late freeze up it sent roots down deeper than ever.”
Marriott says the crop looked good coming out of our mild winter. “We went from one extreme to the other,” he says “from probably one of the worst survival rates…to one of the best this year.
“Mother Nature is never the same from one year to the other,” Marriott adds.
And it’s not just Lambton County winter wheat which is looking good. Marriott says about 900,000 acres of wheat was planted last fall, about 100,000 of that in Lambton County.
Estimates from the Ministry of Agriculture Food and Rural Affairs show in 2015 only 613,000 acres were planted, down from 775,000 in 2014.
Even this weekend’s heavy rain isn’t likely to cause problems, Marriott says. Some farmers recorded as much as three inches (7.6 centimetres) of rain. He says there is likely to be ponding around Lambton County, but because the wheat had such a good start, it isn’t likely to cause a problem.
The real problem with the rain is the erosion it has been causing. “When you get that much rain in a few days, it causes a lot of run off and washouts,” he says. “We’re losing a lot of land.
“If it had have been an inch, it would have been great, but this has been three inches…too dry in Lambton County is better than too wet.”
He expects the land to dry up in time for farmers to be able to put nitrogen on the wheat and with some warmth and a dry harvest season, Marriott says this could be one of the best wheat crops of his lifetime.