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2021 Soybean Seasonal Summary

Despite significant challenges including a prolonged wet fall, the average Ontario soybean crop was the highest on record. The average 2021 soybean yield sits at 51.6 bu/ac with 2.9 million soybean acres seeded. 2018 was the second-best year on record at 51.4 bu/ac. The 5-year average for Ontario is now 49 bu/ac. For comparison the US national 5-year average is 50 bu/ac and the Brazilian 5-year average is 52 bu/ac. Although not all regions had good yields, some fields in the southwest harvested incredible soybeans.

For the first time a variety performance trial at Ridgetown College averaged 100 bu/ac. This speaks to the success of modern soybean breeding. For variety information, see the Ontario Soybean Performance trials at gosoy.ca. Other areas were dry during summer or suffered from excessive rainfall events lowering yield. Some growers, especially on clay soils, have not been able to finish harvest so it was certainly not a good year for everyone. Both seed quality and yield dropped sharply for those beans that remained in the field during November and December rains. Seed beans that were harvested late this fall must be carefully assessed for both germination and vigor. Overall, strong prices and excellent yields were achieved by many Ontario soybean growers making 2021 a good year for soybeans in Ontario.

Spring Planting

A small percentage of the crop was planted in April, but many soybeans were planted in the typical mid-May planting window. There has been a trend in Ontario for some growers to plant soybeans before corn. Although planting early often produces higher soybean yields, recent Ontario trials have shown that ultra-early planted soybeans do not necessarily yield better than May planted soybeans. June planted beans usually yield significantly less.

Soybean Cyst Nematode

Soybean Cyst Nematode (SCN) is the most important yield reducing soybean pest in Ontario. It was first identified in southwestern Ontario in 1988 and has now spread across the province. Many growers still consider SCN to be a problem isolated to southwestern counties, but this is no longer the case. High levels are now present in such places like Bruce and Wellington counties, as well as eastern Ontario.

Every Ontario soybean grower, regardless of where they farm, should assess their fields for SCN through soil testing. If SCN is detected, appropriate management strategies can be undertaken to limit yield losses. Yield reductions of up to 40% may be present without any obvious above ground symptoms. If a field has high SCN numbers and no management is undertaken, yield losses can be as high as 80% or more.

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