July 6, 2022
Fargo, US 72 F

Like the U.S., Ontario Planting Slower Than Normal

Most of Ontario’s field crop farmers are sitting on the sidelines right now, forced to watch a slow, cold spring drag on. A smaller than normal winter wheat acreage is now coming out of dormancy, but there’s been little to nothing planted at the mid-April point. That’s a bit unusual, as ten to 15 percent of Ontario’s corn crop is often in the ground by now, at least in parts of normally warmer southwestern Ontario.

Grain Farmers of Ontario, an association that represents about 28,000 corn, soybean, wheat, oats and barley farmers, recently held its spring meeting. Association director Jeff Harrison, who cash crops in central-eastern Ontario, halfway between Toronto and Ottawa, says GFO members are pleased to see high commodity prices. But, with record high costs for fuel, tight seed corn supplies, and a life experience that haste makes waste, Harrison says he’s taking his time this spring.

“When I was a little bit younger I would, maybe, be a little bit more rammy and competitive, and had to get ahead of the neighbor. Planted the second week of April, and do it all over again because I planted too early. So, I don’t think it’s a wise move this spring to take too many chances and have to look for seed, and do it all over again. When will I be out there? I guess, when the land is fit. If I can plant in good condition for corn, early May. But also have good, favorable conditions to start planting beans almost simultaneously.”

Southern Ontario is showing marked differences, east and west, coming into the spring. In the south and west, Ontario’s heavy soils have stayed mostly cold and wet since last fall. And those conditions kept some wheat acres from being planted. On the other hand, south-eastern Ontario had a more open fall. Harrison says that, overall, the winter wheat crop in eastern Ontario looks to be in generally better shape. For the upcoming crops, Jeff Harrison thinks that when spring does break, things on his farm east of Toronto will start happening fast.

“It’s relatively dry, so it won’t take a lot of heat. In my local area, and I do feel it is a good chunk of Ontario, maybe not the deep Southwest, but for the most part, the land is in pretty good condition. It’s a little cold, so things are slow getting ready as far as heating up. But, no, I don’t think it’ll take a lot of sun to get us out there. Wheat is coming to life nicely, the winter wheat. The deep Southwest, some parts of western Ontario, some of that wheat put in a little bit on the late side, and in extremely wet conditions. So, it didn’t go into winter in the best condition. But the middle eastern part of the province coming to life nicely.”

Jeff Harrison is a corn, soybean and winter wheat producer who farms just north of Lake Ontario, and is a director for Grain Farmers of Ontario.

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