North American Winter Wheat Harvest Delayed, but Nearing Finish Line

Ontario’s winter wheat harvest is finally wrapping up. Farmers in Southwestern and southern central Ontario have struggled to finish a wheat harvest interrupted by a series of heavy rains, thunderstorms, and even some tornadoes. But despite a wet July, indications are that Ontario’s record wheat acreage came off at good to excellent, with some areas reporting record yields. Several pockets of sprouting occurred where the crop lodged in high winds and laid wet. But overall quality is rated good to excellent.   

While corn and soybeans are expanding across the southern Prairie provinces, southern Ontario and southwestern Quebec continue to be the center of production in Canada. Following a cold, dry spring planting season, June and July saw a return to more seasonable heat, but more wet weather than normal.

Emery Huszka, who farms in Lambton County in southwestern Ontario, says that following a fairly dry planting season his crop was in need of rain by late May. And Huszka reports that the rains have come for this growing season.

“My little area of the county was pretty dry, and we prayed like heck for rain. We just got it all at once. I’ve got roughly 15 inches of rain between the time I planted at the end of April to now. And there are people that had more than that. There’s some that are getting close to 20 inches.” 

But along with the wet weather, southwestern Ontario has had extended periods of heat this summer. Now that the crop is well established, Emery Huszka says that he’s pleased with how his soybeans and his corn crop look. Huszka says the heavy, lush growth has potential for mold, and that is pushing farmers in his region to apply fungicides.

“The corn crop looks probably one of the best crops I’ve had going. Healthy-wise of the plant, you can walk through the field and not get cut all to heck from the leaves, they’re that supple and they’re that well-nourished. We are very favorable to mold. I’ve seen more fungicides on this year than I’ve ever seen.” 

In south-eastern Ontario the corn and soybean planting season was also cold and dry, but the growing season, in the more easterly region, so far, has not received as many heavy rain events. Jeff Harrison farms 2 hours east of Toronto and about an hour south of Ottawa. Harrison says he’s never seen his corn and soybean crops look as good as they do right now.

“We’ve been pretty lucky here in the middle-eastern part of the province. Suffered a little bit in the spring, because we did have a very dry, cold spring. But the crops look good, they really do. We’ve been getting a good amount of moisture and enough heat. I don’t know how they could look any better. And that’s abnormal for a farmer. Usually, we can find something to complain about. But the crops look good.”