Many farmers hoping to get 80 per cent of a normal corn yield
ST. ISIDORE ó Many farmers across Eastern Ontario are still hoping for an average corn yield, despite a long, dry summer and a forecast of little rain in August.
"If we get one inch of rain once a week in August there can still be a decent crop," said Arnold Kuratle, dairy and crop farmer west of St. Isidore, at the edge of drought country.
Most of Eastern Ontario, west of Kingston, with the exception of south and east Glengarry County, is suffering from a month-long drought.
"If we get rain weíll make 80 per cent of our average yield in Eastern Ontario," Kuratle said. "But we need big rains or frequent rains. All farmers in this area are living on hope. We donít have a secure crop right now."
He said his fields average over 190 bu/acre. Last yearís provincial average was 151.6 bu/acre.
If dry weather continues, he and many others will see as little as 20 per cent of a normal yield, he said. For Kuratle, that would be a huge loss as he planted 900 acres.
By the end of July, the corn plant was on time but stressed, Kuratle said. In fact, talk to almost any farmer in drought areas and youíll hear that the first four to five leaves are brown, even in the best of fields.
Meanwhile, there is such a widespread drought in the United States that crop prices have skyrocketed. However, few farmers are willing to risk selling on a contract they might not be able to fill. By the end of July, the corn price on the Chicago Board of Trade surpassed $8 per bushel, while soybeans hit $16 per bushel.
"From the 15th of June, no one is forward contracting," Kuratle said. "Itís too scary."
But farmers wonít need to sell their crop until they see it in the bin, he said. "There is such huge damage in the U.S. it gives us enough security about price for the next 10 months."