Grain crop strong despite poor summer weather


Marianne VanderSpek Photo

The summer may have been filled with unusual weather, but it doesn’t seem to have harmed the local grain crop.

Across Central Lambton, farmers are beginning to take off their soybean crops and Enniskillen farmer Kevin Marriott says most are “pleasantly surprised” by what they’re finding.

“There is the odd field off and they’re looking promising,” says Marriott, a former director of Grain Farmers of Ontario. “They are not as good as a year ago but a year ago was an exceptional yield…so far it is pleasant surprise.”

Tim Williams, Petrolia’s Pioneer Hi-Bred representative, just finished a tour of local fields and agrees; this year’s bean crop is strong considering the weather. “The soybeans had a really tough start with a lot of rain and they had a hard time emerging from the ground,” says Williams. “After a bumper crop last year it will be going back to reality this year.

Don McCabe, vice president of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture says the beans which came off before the heavy rains this weekend were very dry and of good quality. And he says the rains shouldn’t be a big problem. “It is not like we’re really pressed for time yet,” he says “it is still early in the season and there is lots of time to get the wheat in the ground.”

And while farmers are taking off beans, Williams says it may be a while before the corn crop is ready to be harvested. He’s estimating it will likely be late October before the combines move through it. But Williams says when it does come off, it will be good. “I think were going to have a better crop than last year;

last year was good and this year is going to be very good crop,” says Williams. “The corn got off to a really good start and never looked back.” McCabe agrees saying estimates across the province show about 160 bushels an acre for corn – above Ontario’s yearly average.

And while it will be a strong year, Williams says it won’t be as good financially. Commodity prices, he says, have dipped between 20 and 40 percent from last year at this time.

“It is not going to be like last year where everything…was perfect and turned to gold,” says Williams. “There is still profit margin in it… there is still room to make money…with a good yield there is an opportunity to have profitable year.”