Despite a late start in planting, this years corn harvest is looking good

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A surprise late-season rally has rescued Southwestern Ontario’s vital corn crop.

“The weather from mid-­September through mid-October was amazing and saved the corn crop, no question,” says Peter Johnson, an agronomist with, a business website for farming.

Johnson said he’s heard from farmers with yields as high as 300 bushels an acre on some fields and many are more than 200 bushels an acre.

“We have farmers out there with the best corn yields ever. I think it will be a very good corn year, on average,” said Johnson

But not everyone has done well in the region, one of the nation’s richest farm belts and one where corn is one of the biggest crops.

Some areas, especially north of London, have lower yields and quality problems due to the shortened season and not enough rain.

Johnson said about half of the corn crop has been harvested but the first snow of the season last Thursday idled the combines especially in areas north and west of London.

There wasn’t enough snow in the Woodstock area to keep Kevin Armstrong from harvesting his corn right through the week. By Friday, the hard freeze kept his combine from bogging down in the fields.

Armstrong said his yields are about 200 bushels an acre.

“The corn yields are pretty decent. I have seen some pockets in our fields over 250 bushels. I can’t complain at all,” he said.

Earlier in the spring, the region’s corn crop appeared to be in peril because of soggy, cool weather that forced farmers to push the deadline for planting,

Armstrong didn’t start planting until mid-May, about a week to ten days later than average.

Things still looked grim as a relatively cool summer didn’t give corn the heat it needed and then there were fears of an early frost. But the weather stayed unusually warm and dry well into October.

The good corn crop makes up for a mediocre soybean harvest this year, said Johnson. August is a key month for soybeans but there wasn’t enough heat or moisture that month to move the crop along.

Farmers also are facing a tough market when it comes to selling their corn and soybeans, with prices driven down by a combination of big U.S. yields and a rise in the value of the Canadian dollar.

Johnson said about 850,00 acres of winter wheat have been planted this fall, a good-sized crop but not a record.

Armstrong said his wheat is off to a great start.

“It started running as soon as we put it in the ground,” he said.


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