Greig: Late spring planting means more soybeans in Ontario

Emergence in an Ontario soybean field. (File photo by John Greig)

Ontario farmers are stopped across most of the province as consistently wet weather holds up planting and pushes farmers to plant more soybeans instead of corn.

Significantly higher than normal rain in southern Ontario and record rainfall between Toronto and Ottawa mean that near the end of May, corn planting isn’t complete and there remains about half the soybean crop to go in the ground.

The rain’s “been pretty widespread, way above normal,” said Clare Kinlin, an agronomist and sales manager for crops at MacEwen AgriCentre, which has three outlets in eastern Ontario. “They’ve not been big pounding belly washers, but drizzle, and no heat.”

The heat is the big factor, Kinlin said, estimating the region is 10 days behind in planting progress and 250 heat units behind compared to normal.

In southern Ontario, Alex Melady, field marketer and a certified crop advisor with Hensall District Co-operative (HDC), said the heavy soils have had to wait and are still waiting to dry out before they can be planted. He covers an area in southern Huron and northern Middlesex counties and estimates about 80 per cent of corn and 30 per cent of soybeans have been planted.

There will still be enough time for corn to mature in that area, as long as it gets planted in the next several days.

“I think growers have corn acres to go they might consider switching them if we get more rain like they are calling for this Sunday,” Melady said. “If they can’t plant in the next few days versus a week from now, that will have an influence on what will go in the ground as far as corn versus soybeans.”

Growers in the Ottawa Valley are further ahead, Kinlin estimated, with close to 95 per cent of corn and 75 to 80 per cent of soybeans planted.

His region can get a frost in September once every five years, so corn growers who are not planting the crop for feed are careful how late they plant. That means there won’t be many more corn acres go in this year.

“The last 25 per cent of soybeans will take two weeks to get done,” he said, with the amount of rain the region has received.

Tiled fields in the region drain eventually to the Ottawa River, he said, and with the river at record-high levels, there’s little place for the moisture to go.

“We’ve basically had three nice days this spring,” he said.

In and around those nice days, 80 per cent of MacEwen’s fertilizer went out.

The corn crop went into the ground in about five days and not always in optimal conditions.

“I’m very concerned about some of these seed beds,” he said.

Not only commodity crop farmers growing corn and soybeans have been challenged this spring.

“Mother Nature is our business partner, and she is flexing her muscles a bit this year,” said Will Heeman of Heeman’s Garden Centre and Strawberries, one of the largest producers of strawberries in the province.

Heeman’s, located near London, usually has all of its next year’s crop of June-bearing strawberries planted by now.

That job is usually long done before the strawberry picking begins, but Heeman said they have a half million strawberry plants in coolers yet to plant and they have started picking the berries from their earliest ever-bearing varieties.

Soon they’ll have 50 acres of strawberries to pick and still some plants to get into the ground for next year.

He estimated they need about three decent days before they can get back to prepping the beds, which have been hilled, but need row covers and drip lines installed yet before the berries can go in.

“It’s like all farming, there are a lot of things going on,” he said. “It just means we’ll have another ball we’ll be juggling that we usually have been able to put down.”

— John Greig is a field editor for Glacier FarmMedia based at Ailsa Craig, Ont. Follow him at @jgreig on Twitter.

By Phil Franz-Warkentin, Commodity News Service Canada May 15, 2012 Winnipeg - Canola contracts on the ICE Futures  Canada platform were mixed at 10:40 CDT Tuesday, although prices in  all months were well off their session highs as speculative selling  came forward to weigh on values.A technical turnaround from Monday's declines initially  provided some support for canola on Tuesday, but speculative long  liquidation quickly returned to pull the July contract below  unchanged, said a broker. He noted that the narrowing old crop/new  crop spread was a feature. A mixed tone in the CBOT soy complex also contributed to the  losses in canola. The active seeding progress being reported across western Canada  put further pressure on canola values, although participants noted  that there are still some excessively wet areas in parts of eastern  Saskatchewan. Heavy winds in southern Manitoba overnight were also said to have  caused some damage to early developing crops, which may require some  re-seeding, according to a broker. Steady commercial demand, a lack of significant farmer selling,  and the weaker Canadian dollar also provided some underlying support  for canola. At 10:40 CDT, about 13,000 canola contracts had changed hands,  with inter-month spreading accounting for over 7,000 of the contracts  traded. Milling wheat, durum, and barley futures were all untraded and  unchanged. Prices in Canadian dollars per metric ton at 10:40 CDT: Price      Change Canola            Jul     593.10    dn  1.30 Nov     556.40    up  1.60 Jan     558.00    dn  0.10 Western Barley    Jul     237.00      unch Milling Wheat     Oct     242.00      unch Dec     247.00      unch Durum             Oct     275.60      unch Dec     280.10      unch Barley            Oct     184.00      unch Dec     189.00      unch
By Phil Franz-Warkentin, Commodity News Service Canada May 15, 2012 Winnipeg - ICE Futures Canada canola contracts  closed with sharp gains on Tuesday, after trading to both sides of  unchanged. A technical turnaround from recent declines accounted for most  of the strength in canola, with some buy-stops hit on the way up,  according to participants. A move higher in CBOT soybeans also  provided some support.The active seeding progress being reported across western Canada  did limit the gains to some extent, although there are still some  excessively wet areas in parts of eastern Saskatchewan, said  participants. Heavy winds in southern Manitoba overnight were also said to have  caused some damage to early developing crops, which may require some  re-seeding. Steady commercial demand, a lack of significant farmer selling,  and the weaker Canadian dollar all provided underlying support for  canola, according to participants. About 23,561 canola contracts were traded on Tuesday, which  compares with Monday when an estimated 16,945 contracts changed  hands. Spreading accounted for about 12,316 of the contracts traded. Durum and barley futures were both untraded and unchanged.  Milling wheat futures were also untraded, although prices were  revised slightly lower after the close. Settlement prices are in Canadian dollars per metric ton.   Price      Change Canola            Jul     602.60    up 8.20 Nov     562.40    up 7.60 Jan     565.60    up 7.50 Western Barley    Jul     237.00    unch Milling Wheat     Oct     242.00    unch Dec     247.00    unch Durum             Oct     275.60    unch Dec     280.10    unch Barley            Oct     184.00    unch Dec     189.00    unch

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