Ont. winter wheat crop seen off to good start

The area planted to winter wheat in Ontario was significantly higher in 2012 than in 2011, according to an official with the province’s agriculture ministry.

"Favourable weather, and the early completion of the soybean and corn harvest in Ontario, allowed producers to get in the fields early," said Peter Johnson, the province’s cereal crop specialist at Stratford.

He estimated 950,000 acres of winter wheat had been seeded in the province by the end of October and farmers were still planting winter wheat in early November, which was after the crop insurance deadline.

He linked the decision by farmers to plant winter wheat after the crop insurance deadline to grower experience and a positive acceptance of this practice by the industry.

In the fall of 2011, 575,000 acres of winter wheat had been seeded ahead of the Oct. 31 insurance deadline. With plantings after the deadline, winter wheat seeded area in Ontario during 2011 totalled 725,000 acres.

Johnson noted that the 2012 winter wheat crop was off to an excellent start given that the majority of the crop was seeded in September amid favourable weather.

The cool, damp conditions through October limited aggressive fall growth, he added.

Of the winter wheat seeded in Ontario in 2012, hard red acreage was believed to have fallen to 10 per cent of the crop from the 15 per cent level seen in 2011.

Soft white acreage slipped to six per cent of the crop from seven per cent last year.

– Dwayne Klassen writes for Commodity News Service Canada, a Winnipeg company specializing in grain and commodity market reporting.