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The 2017 Ontario crops are immature, have a lot of potential, but need to finish strong and avoid the “F” word - frost!

The 2017 Ontario crops are immature, have a lot of potential, but need to finish strong and avoid the “F” word - frost!

Expert estimates for corn and soybean yields for Ontario

The 2nd Annual Great Ontario Yield Tour collected a total of over 940 samples of corn (473 samples) and soybeans (467 samples) thanks to nine teams of yield estimators of count on the ground across the province.  The sample collections were taken between August 14th to 24th, 2017.

The final estimated yield from this year’s Great Ontario Yield Tour are corn at 163.2 bu/acre (+/-1%), with a range of 161.5 – 164.8, and soybeans at 45.7 bu/acre with a (+/-2%) and a range of 44.7 – 46.6.   The estimates were calculated by Moe Agostino, Chief Commodity Strategist with Risk Management, and Greg Stewart, Agronomy Lead with Maizex Seeds.

According to Agostino and Stewart, the biggest threat to the corn yield potential in the province is the delayed maturity that exists across almost the entire province. Maturity being two weeks behind is not uncommon, and in some cases the delay looks more like 3-4 weeks behind typical growing seasons.  In many cases an adjustment downward in yield potential is warranted, simply because kernel size and test weight will be reduced from normal.

Soybean maturity is also delayed, but the consensus is that the soybean crop is at less risk and closer to average for maturity than the corn crop.  The bigger risk to the 2017 soy yield potential is the White Mold found in many soybean fields and particularly in the areas east of Toronto.   Excessive rainfall in the East has also taken significant areas completely out of production (perhaps 5-10% of the acres).

Southwestern Ontario remained dry particularly in the Chatham-Kent, Elgin, and parts of Middlesex counties.  However, in a reversal of fortunes, the area from Brant to Niagara has excellent yield potential in contrast to last year’s drought disaster.

The presence of ears infected by Western Bean Cutworm (WBC) was significantly less than was observed by the Great Ontario Yield Tour team in 2016.  This may be due to less WBC pressure, but increased acres that received insecticide applications undoubtedly played a role in this observation.

Corn ears and roots

For soybeans, Agostino and Stewart had to adjust lower by 5% to account for the presence of white mold due to the amount of moisture in 2017 vs. 2016.  White mold can be a yield robber and reduce yields by as much as 30%. Once again, the potential is there for an above average crop, but it too is behind.  For soybeans, Agostino and Stewart are concerned about too many flat pods for this time of the year.

Farmers in Ontario will need to avoid the “F” word “frost” to avoid a disaster in both crops!  The potential is there for a solid crop of both corn and soybeans, but it is now a given that farmers in Ontario will need all of September and, in some areas, the first half of October to finish this 2017 crop.

The Great Ontario Yield Tour held two events to share yield observations with farmers, one on August 25th, 2017 in Winchester, ON at Jacquemet Farms with special guest speaker and “farmer favorite” Fred Below – “Quest for higher corn & soybean yields”.  The second event was held on August 31st, 2017 at COF in Woodstock, Ontario with special guest speaker Missy Bauer of B & M Consulting in Michigan “Chasing 300 bu corn.”

For more information on the tour and yield results, visit:



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