Ontario’s grain corn crop was harvested in a timely fashion this fall with yields seen coming in at a surprisingly high level, despite a not-so-spectacular growing season.
"With 50 per cent of the reported yield in to crop insurance at present, the current trend yield suggests that the crop yielded roughly 161 bushels an acre," Greg Stewart, a corn specialist for the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs in Guelph.
That level was above the five year average of 149.1 bushels per acre but was below the record yields achieved last year at 164 bu./ac.
There were 1.87 million acres planted to grain corn in Ontario this spring, he said.
Stewart acknowledged that when all the data is in at crop insurance, the yield per acre for the grain corn crop was likely to be a bit lower and in the 155 to 156 bu./ac. range.
"This would still be the in the top two to three yield averages on record," he said.
Only the corn crops in the heavy clay regions of southern Ontario were still left to be harvested, Stewart said and were unlikely to be brought off the field this year.
Vomitoxin was an issue with the grain corn crop in Ontario this year, he said. "There was above average levels of mould in some areas of the province which provided some difficulty for end-users."
"If not higher"
Other than that, Stewart noted that the crop turned out surprisingly well given that the planting of the crop got off to a late start.
"Producers in Ontario only had 60 per cent of the crop seeded by May and the rest was not finished until well into June," he said. "With extreme heat and dryness in July there were ideas that yields would only be in the 130 to 135 bu./ac. range at that time."
With the unexpected high yield results this fall, and as long as input costs for corn do not climb significantly by the spring, producers in Ontario are expected to increase the area planted to the crop, he said.
"I would speculate that the area seeded to grain corn in Ontario in the spring could hit the two million-acre level if not a bit higher," he said.
With winter wheat area in the province only average this fall, there will be opportunity for corn producers to bump up the acreage base, he said.
The decision to plant grain corn will also depend on whether producers can get into the fields early, Stewart said.
"If we can plant by April or the first week of May, the area to corn will be up."