After an open start to the fall harvest season, mild, wet weather has set in for much of central and eastern Canada. Soybean harvest has pretty well wrapped up in Ontario and Quebec, but many central regions and eastern regions are waiting for colder temperatures so that final corn acres can be harvested on the frost.
Much of Atlantic Canada had a rainy summer, and that wet weather continued into fall harvest. Ryan McCarron operates a mixed beef cattle, forage, and cash crop corn and barley operation in Antigonish, Nova Scotia. Antigonish is on the Northumberland Strait, and is located just across the water south-east of Prince Edward Island.
Ryan McCarron still has several hundred acres of corn to get off. His main concern is that a snow squall will cover the ground and insulate it from a frost freeze-up. McCarron says it’s been a long, stop-and-go harvest season in Atlantic Canada.
“Every other day it’s been raining. It’s been a bit of a challenge. Big rain events, too, you get 2 or 3 inches in an event and then drizzle for the rest of the week. So, we’re at the stage now where you’ve just got to get it off. And we’re so close to the water here that we get a lot of snow effect. You kind of get into the issue where you won’t get freeze up, you’ll get snow before you’ll get freeze up. And then the issues are just kind of compounding.”
McCarron says that nearly all of his own heavy clay land is systematically tiled, and that investment has paid off this year. McCarron reports that his corn yields have been average. He’s surprised this year’s yields have held up as well as they have with the long stretches of wet weather.
“Surprisingly, not bad for how wet it’s been. For the most part, average maybe just below average. For our area if you’re getting, like four ton to the acre, kind of what you hit for, and we haven’t been too far off that. 90 per cent of my land is all systematically tiled. And then we’re on some custom stuff, in certain places, and some ground’s tiled and some of it is. And if there’s not much drainage, there’s nothing there.”
In the Great Lakes region of southwestern Ontario, an open harvest season has given way to wet weather with milder days and frosty nights. Eric Deitrich rotates corn, soybeans and winter wheat just north of London, Ontario, located between Lake Erie and Lake Huron. Deitrich says he’s nearly finished corn harvest. The Dietrich operation has been combining in the dark over the last couple of weeks, when the frost has helped to keep the equipment up out of the mud.
“We’re down to the last couple hundred acres here. We’ve had rainfall, we’ve also had snowfall. The snow seems to slow you down more. We’re fortunate we have our own grain system, too, so we can kind of tailor our hours for when field conditions are right. We end up doing a lot in the dark, but I guess that’s why they put lights on stuff.”