Heat Growing Corn Faster, Moving Up Detasseling

The extreme heat in Chatham-Kent has proven to be a good thing in the corn fields.

Corn is growing faster which has students working for WR Detasseling out in the fields about five days earlier than they would have been in past corn detasseling seasons.

President of W-R Detasseling, Kent Willmore says they have hired about 800 students for this season and they’re expected to work until the second week of August – depending on the weather.

With the extreme heat warnings that have been in affect working outside does pose some risk but Willmore says there are steps in place to keep employees safe under the sun.

Those steps include: frequent water breaks, access to shaded areas and a policy they implemented three years ago.

“We actually don’t allow skin to show,” says Willmore. “It actually does help prevent a lot of sun burn and sun stroke and it actually helps keep the body cool.”

Although the heat may be a little difficult to work in Willmore says it’s great for corn.

“Corn loves heat! It needs heat to grow and to be healthy,” says Willmore. “The crops look quite good.”

But those crops are not as plentiful as they once were.

Willmore says the number of fields has decreased in Southwestern Ontario.

“We’re actually down from our acreage highs in 2012 and 2013,” says Willmore.

He also says even though the amount of acres growing corn has gone down a considerable amount they’re fortunate enough to have work in detasseling and have the seed corn industry do well in Ontario.


Kent Willmore says their season started about five days earlier than in past seasons in the Chatham-Kent area.


Willmore says there are also fewer corn fields to work on.