London area farmers reporting extraordinary yields of wheat crop


Ontario's wheat crop appears to be living up to its early billing as one of the best, if not the best, in the province's history.

With combines starting to roll this week in London area wheat fields, farmers are reporting extraordinary yields.

"At this point in time I am absolutely ecstatic with the wheat crop, it's unbelievable," said Peter Johnson, a London-area agronomist with Real Agriculture.

Johnson said he expects some farms will break the all time yield record of 141 bushels an acre.

Yields as high as 136 bushels an acre have already been documented and on one farm there is an unconfirmed yield of 148 bushels an acre.

"That would be a new record. It is just astounding," Johnson said.

Growers have reported the yield monitors on their combines are indicating yields of more than 200 bushels an acre when they are in the best part of their fields, he said.

With most of the crop still in the field the wheat crop could still be damaged by rains and it is not uniform across the province.

In Essex County, where there were disease problems, the yields have been reported as low 40 bushels an acre. The wheat crop in the Niagara region has also suffered from extremely dry conditions that have virtually wiped out the chances of harvesting a soybean or corn crop there.

Still, Johnson said the wheat crop could be an Ontario record.

"I am very optimistic we will set a new provincial record. It might not, but I am very optimistic we have a shot at that."

How did it happen?

It started with farmers getting an early start on soybean planting in the spring of 2015, Johnson said.

That allowed growers to harvest soybeans early and plant most of the winter wheat crop in September.

"If you want high yield wheat you have to plant early," he said.

On top of the early start Ontario had an open fall and wheat was still growing on Christmas Day. That was followed by a mild winter.

Wheat is one of Ontario's big three cash crops with an estimated one million acres seeded this year. The other two are grain corn and soybeans.

The rain that swept across much of Southwestern Ontario Tuesday night was unbelievably critical for the corn crop, Johnson said.

"We were under heat stress, we were under drought stress, a lot of fields were wrapping up during the day. If it hadn't rained we would have suffered huge yield loss."

The rain made the difference between a mediocre crop and one with good yield potential again. Soybeans were starting to hurt, but weren't at as critical of a stage, he said.


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