Farmers in the province are dealing with high-moisture and frost-damaged corn this season
By Jackie Clark
Combines are starting to roll in some Ontario corn fields.
“In Kent County, a lot’s been done in the last couple days – I’d say close to 25 per cent of the crop,” Matt Chapple, a market development agronomist with Pride Seeds, told Farms.com. “Anybody with his or her own dryer is picking away at it. The corn crop is high moisture, (so farmers) are trying not to take it off too early if they don’t have to.”
High moisture is the story in the eastern part of the province as well. Farmers have harvested only 5 per cent of the corn in his region, estimated Paul Sullivan, agronomist and owner of P.T. Sullivan Agro Inc. based near Ottawa. “Harvest has been going for close to two weeks but not too much is off. Moistures are still very high,” he told Farms.com.
A wet spring, late planting, and early frosts have compounded harvest challenges. “In some cases, (corn) was planted into June 10 or 12, and a lot of it got frosted off early,” Chapple said.
These growing conditions have led to a “generally low bushel weight,” Sullivan explained. Test weight “does seem to be coming up when the corn is dried slowly, so growers who have their own dryers can take it off, dry it slowly, and move (test weight) up. But, if you’re taking the corn to an elevator, bushel weights are low.”
In some parts of the province, farmers have not been able to harvest corn at all.
“We haven’t done much corn harvest. I’m based in Dundalk. Really nobody’s combining, it’s too wet. The fields are muddy. We’re in a holding pattern until the fields freeze or the corn dries a bit,” Deb Campbell, agronomist and owner of Agronomy Advantage, told Farms.com. “More producers than normal are considering leaving the corn out over winter and looking at that March/April (harvest) window.”
But farmers must weigh multiple factors when making their decisions about harvest timing.
Farmers are “concerned about getting the corn as dry as they can,” Chapple said. “Patience is going to pay but, at the same point, we really have to assess our stalk integrity.”
Sullivan had similar advice. “Find out what you have,” he said. “See how standability is by assessing stalks, see what the moistures are at, and see what bushel weight is at. That (information) helps to know what you have ahead of you,” he said.
For some producers, finishing soybean harvest is a priority before focusing on corn.
“In parts of eastern Ontario, there’s still 20 per cent of soybeans to come off. So, that’s the bigger concern,” Sullivan said.
The same is true in parts of western Ontario. “Unfortunately, in Essex, Lambton and even parts of Middlesex, guys are still trying to finish up beans,” Chapple said.
CNH Industrial photo