“Perfect storm” led to record soy acres: OSG

Ontario’s record soybean acres this spring were due to what the province’s soy growers’ group describes as a “perfect storm” of weather and market conditions.

Ontario’s seeded soybean acres have risen 14.3 per cent over 2008 levels, to reach a new high of 2.4 million acres, Ontario Soybean Growers noted in a release Wednesday, citing Statistics Canada’s 2009 June farm survey.

The Ontario area planted to soybeans rose from 2.1 million acres in 2008 and also beat the previous record of 2.3 million acres planted in 2004, OSG said.

Those results “align with the predictions OSG directors made in early May,” OSG chair Leo Guilbeault said in the release.

StatsCan, in its April seeding intentions survey, predicted a 10 per cent increase over 2008, but “OSG directors from across Ontario felt that the increase in acres would be approaching 15 per cent, and that is what has happened,” said Guilbeault, an Essex County soybean grower.

The record acres came about when “farmers ended the 2008 growing season feeling good about their soybean yields and profitability (and) wet weather last fall meant that not as much winter wheat was planted as expected,” OSG general manager Dale Petrie said.

“High fertilizer prices and cool, wet planting conditions earlier in the spring caused more of the ‘swing acres’ to be planted to soy and less to corn.”

Also, Petrie said, premium opportunities for identity-preserved (IP) beans remain firm. Furthermore, there was some switching of intended white and coloured bean acreage to soy, and winter wheat acreage lost to winterkill was planted to soybeans.

On top of that, he said, a spring price rally occurred, driven by continued strong U.S. exports of soy and low carry-out numbers.

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