Ontario soybeans, corn suffer under ‘heat dome’

Commodity News Service Canada – While Saskatchewan and Manitoba farmers wish the rain would go away, some Ontario farmers are wishing it would pour.

“We’ll trade some nice, hot, dry, sunny weather for your water and rain,” said Jeff Barlow, a director with Grain Farmers of Ontario who farms in the southern part of the province. “We had just over an inch of rain (Wednesday) which is the most significant rain we’ve had since we started planting…hopefully that’s not it.”

Southern Ontario has been the victim of a “heat dome” for the past week, with Environment Canada issuing heat alerts for temperatures rising to highs of 33 C, feeling like 40 C to 45 C with the humidex.

“The crops are really suffering…in (the Niagara Peninsula) it’s been so dry that there are crops that were planted that never grew,” Barlow said.

A lot of producers have been forced to replant their soybean crops, Barlow said, adding in his fields only half of what was replanted has actually come up.

“It could be a problem if these soybeans that never grow started growing now, being a week away from August they could still be green in the fall,” Barlow said. “I hope they don’t decide last minute to grow…if the rest of the field is ready to harvest and those are still green, that will affect harvest timing.”

Soybeans that have come up are very short, Barlow said, meaning some of the pods are very close to the ground.

“You’re average cutting height is two to three inches off the ground…even with the best cutting equipment you can’t get those pods near the ground,” Barlow said. “I’m afraid we’ll have some fields that may have some yield in them that we can’t collect.”

Corn crops have also been affected by dry weather, only growing about four to five feet high.

“It’s a very short crop this year, and the tassling is uneven between a lot of the different plants…it went into the ground and became fairly dry very quickly,” Barlow said.

“The worst areas in the field — the spots that typically drown out, are actually the best spots this year—so it’s a little bit of a backwards year for us,” he added.

The heat warnings have subsided for the next week, but warm dry weather is expected to continue, according to Environment Canada. So far, there are only 30 per cent chances of rain for Thursday and Friday.

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