Great Lakes Grain’s annual Crop Assessment Tour has wrapped for the year and included over 500 corn fields and nearly 400 soybean fields.

Reports from the tour suggest that the Ontario corn crop is shaping up to be a new provincial record. Early planting and less stress than past years means the corn crop is in fine shape heading into the dry-down phase. It was also noted that the crop is advancing quickly, and earlier than average.

Those assessing the corn crop say that top yield potential exists because of strong plant populations, thick cobs, and longer row of kernels compared to past years.

April-planted corn has black layered already, denoting physiological maturity, and some experts are still not entirely sure why the corn crop is as advanced as it is, though others suggest warm nights may have driven advancement of the crop.

This year’s data suggests that over 75 per cent of the corn fields are in the dent stage now compare to 54 per cent, in the 2020 crop and only 18 per cent, in the 2019 crop on or around the same date.

Soybean yields are not expected to be as impressive; however, given some of the adversity the crop faced this year, those on the tour were surprised by how positive some areas look. Still, white mould, sudden death syndrome, and frog eye leaf spot were easily found in fields.

“There is still work to do to keep soybeans from lodging,” according to Great Lakes Grain in a press release. “Lodged plants had half the pod counts of standing plants and could be missing yield potential. It will take an integrated approach of variety choices, fertility management, and seeding rates to improve plant stands and pod counts.”

The soybean crop is also ahead of average maturity and will be ready for harvest within a few weeks. Those on the tour noted that Ontario’s elevator and handling systems will be put to the test this fall.

The Great Lakes Grain Crop Assessment Tour has been conducted yearly since 2010, to assess the size of the Ontario crop, as well as give growers a better understanding of how their crop is performing compared to others in the province.

“This year’s assessment, like every assessment tour, helps us to improve for next year. Growing our knowledge of how diseases and pests operate in the fields helps our team of agronomists grow farmers yields next year,” says Dale Cowan, senior agronomist, AGRIS Co-operative.

This tour was done ahead of the extreme weather event of September 7, 2021.

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