Rain has affected wheat quality, farmers said
By Diego Flammini
With winter wheat harvest wrapping up in Ontario, some growers spoke with Farms.com about the harvest and how their crops fared.
Leo Guilbeault planted approximately 350 acres of winter wheat on his Belle River, Ont. farm at a rate of about 150 pounds per acre.
Guilbeault finished his harvest yesterday and it’s almost been a tale of two harvests.
“It started off really well when we started two weeks ago and (the crop) has deteriorated since,” he told Farms.com. “All the rain we got did not help the quality at all.”
When he started harvest around July 4, Guilbeault’s crop was all Grade 2, looked to be a bumper crop and showed a yield upwards of 110 bushels per acre.
“Then on July 6, we got a downpour and have had three or four rains since then,” he said. “Now we’re looking at Grade 3 and feed wheat because of sprouts and light test weight. In two weeks, we went from probably the best crop we’ve ever seen to struggling with low quality grain.”
Another farmer had a similar experience to Guilbeault’s.
Chris Renwick planted about 115 pounds of wheat per acre across nearly 140 acres on his farm in Wheatley, Ont.
Heading into harvest, Renwick’s crop looked good.
“There wasn’t a lot of winterkill and the crop looked pretty consistent,” he told Farms.com.
Like Guilbealt, the first part of Renwick’s crop was better than the latter portion of harvest.
“The grade was really good, and the protein level was average” he said. “But then we got delayed by rain which is leading to downgraded crop because of sprouts. “We’re probably now looking at Grade 3, but we don’t have any feed wheat.”
These results show how tight the window is for farmers to complete their harvests.
When the crop is ready and the weather is good, producers can’t afford to wait, Renwick said.
“Obviously you want to get the crop off as soon as it’s mature, but sometimes the weather doesn’t allow for it,” Renwick said. “Maybe you don’t go away for a weekend because the crop has to come off, but that’s the kind of timing we have to work with.”