At a critical stage of development this growing season, corn and soybean plants didn’t get one essential ingredient for growth – moisture.
The dry, hot summer, with drought-like conditions that persisted well into August, will reduce yields for both crops, says Henry Van Ankum, chair of the board of the Grain Farmers of Ontario.
He has a large-scale corn, soybean, and wheat farm of his own near Alma, north of Guelph.
While it is the case that certain pockets of land in the Guelph area will yield better than others, and that conditions in the fields are variable, it is safe to say that this will not be a banner year for growers, Van Ankum indicated.
“It’s really variable, depending on your soil type,” he said. “But certainly on your gravely soils around Guelph, it was definitely too dry at a critical period, when the corn was tasseling and the cob was pollinating. There won’t be a fully formed cob on some of that corn.”
Heavy rain in some areas in Guelph-Eramosa and Wellington County in late-July and August put some height on the plants.
“But I don’t expect we are going to see a bumper crop of corn on some of that lighter soil,” he added. “I think every county in the province will have some impacted areas, and other areas that are going to fare alright. It’s not a great year for the corn crop in Ontario. It was just too dry at that critical time in July.”
Soybean plants are somewhat more adaptive than corn plants, and likely made better use of the rain that did fall at the end of July and August.
“That being said, some of the soybeans will be impacted as well,” he said. “But it is really variable, depending on variety and soil type.”
Many soybean fields are yellowing, a possible indication of stressful growth conditions. The corn generally appears late for this time of year.