Corn yields all over the place
By Brandy Harrison
CHESTERVILLE ó By the end of September, few farmers were combining corn but with the summerís drought and high heat units speeding up maturity, it wonít be long.
"My call on corn right now is close to four weeks ahead of normal," says Stan Vanden Bosch, who operates Vanden Bosch Elevators Inc. with his two sons in Chesterville.
The first load of corn came into the elevator on Sept. 24, the earliest itís ever been. The load, from Renfrew, was very dry, at 22 per cent moisture.
Yields are expected to be all over the map.
"We have no pollination right up to totally awesome," says Grafton crop farmer Ian Greydanus, who is guessing heíll see yields slip 10 to 15 per cent below average.
At Como Farm Equipment in Chesterville, Brian Como says there are a lot more grain carts and gravity boxes for sale than usual.
"I think people are looking to see what their yield is like on their corn before they buy," says Como.
Bainsville crop farmer Peter Vander Burg has more reason to be optimistic than most. Heís got 18-row cobs that filled to the end and with rain at tasseling and every other time the corn needed it, heís expecting to beat his 180-bushel average.
Provincially, the five-year average is 149.6 bushels per acre, dropping only slightly to 147.9 bu/ac for Eastern Ontario.
Bruce Hamilton would have been happy with yields even close to that. The Cobden-area crop, dairy, and beef farmer usually only does 120 acres of corn silage, but this year had to do 230, leaving only 60 acres for grain, which he says will only be grade four or five.
Douglas crop farmer Jennifer Doelman usually hopes to break the 120-bushel mark on corn, but this year it may be only 60 to 80 bu/ac and worse on sandy fields.
"I had some fields that crop insurance called 20 bushels," she says, adding that standability and a slower dry down may cause problems. "We definitely want to be getting in there, but at 33 per cent, youíre just going to be frustrated. Youíre just going to be combining mush."
Bill Duncan isnít much more confident. The Pakenham crop farmer is expecting only half of his usual yield but he wants to make sure itís not a total loss.
"If itís another dry year next year, we want to have all our ducks in a row. Weíre hoping to get more trash on top to hold the moisture in. Thatís why we didnít destroy any of our bad corn crop."