Wheat worries in Lambton

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File Photo - Wheat harvest in 2017

Farmers in Central Lambton are keeping one eye on the skies and another on their weather radars, hoping conditions will change in time to salvage this year’s wheat crop.

Wheat is one of Lambton’s top three agricultural crops with almost 70,000 acres planted in 2020 and 4.8 million bushels harvested. In a normal year, farmers would be out in their combines into the wee hours of the morning bringing in the grain. And up until a couple of weeks ago, farm leaders were optimistic about the coming crop.

Kevin Marriott is with the Lambton Grain Farmers. He says the 2021 crop was shaping up to break some records in Lambton. Until it started raining.

Lambton normally gets just a few millimeters of rain in July. In the last two weeks, there has been 41.2 mm and in the last month, there has been 147.7 mm, soaking the ground and giving farmers like Marriott who have wheat waiting in the field a reason to worry.
And there is more rain in the forecast for Friday.

“If we can just miss some of the rain they’re predicting this week, we still have a chance of getting some decent quality wheat without much downgrade in price,” says Marriott. But with rain for another week, then the downgrade will probably be well over $1 a bushel. For farmers with large acreages, that could mean a loss of $15,000.

Marriott says right now he’s watching for mildew. But if the rain continues, the wheat could sprout and that would mean even bigger problems. But he’s hopeful things will turn around.

“If we just get some wind and sun the rest of the week, it won’t be quite as bad,” says Marriott. “If it would just stop today, we have a chance to do a lot. But that rain on Friday is what bothers me.

“It all depends how much we get Friday again.”