(Resource News International) — Ontario farmers are moving forward planting this year’s soybean crop, with up to 70 per cent of the acres in the ground as of May 21, said provincial crop specialists.
Favourable weather conditions in April allowed some fields to be planted earlier than normal, while rain in May caused delays in other areas.
Overall, the province’s crop is 50 to 70 per cent planted, according to Horst Bohner, soybean specialist for the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) at Guelph.
“Having too much moisture is generally our problem” in Ontario, he said. “It was a really dry April, and the first two weeks of May were sporadic with showers, so beans went in a little later than some guys would have liked, but on the whole we’re actually ahead of average by about a week.”
When May hit, Ontario experienced less favourable weather compared to April. In fact, at the beginning of May the province experienced a frost which killed off already-emerged crops. However, because of early seeding, soybean yields in Ontario aren’t expected to be affected.
“There were so few (soybean plants) out of the ground and if they were frozen right off they would be re-planted… most of the early-planted fields were not emerged yet when the frost hit,” said Bohner.
The estimated acreage for the 2010 soybean crop in Ontario is 2.45 million acres, compared to 2.4 million in 2009, according to Seamus Hoban, economist with the Grain Farmers of Ontario. The estimated yield for this year is 4.2 bushels per acre, the same as 2009.
Of about 108 million bushels of total supply, Hoban said, 55 million will be crushed in Ontario, nine million will be used for seed and other uses, and 38 million will be exported, mentioning current demand from China. The figures are based off of the same breakdown from 2009, Hoban said.
“Demand from the crushers is quite steady. They generally don’t vary too much from year to year,” he said.
“The long-term population issues in China, they’re not producing enough so they’re getting the rest from import,” said Hoban regarding the demand for soybean exports.
Ontario’s soybean acreage is expected to be fully planted by May 28 if the weather stays dry, according to Bohner.