Long Fall Bodes Well For Agriculture

Agronomist Peter Johnson makes a point about markets at a BDO agricultural economics seminar in Chatham November 29, 2016. (Photo by Simon Crouch)

The long warm fall means good things for Ontario agriculture, if there is cold weather to follow.

That’s the word from agronomist Peter Johnson.

Speaking at an agricultural finance seminar in Chatham recently, Johnson said the warmer weather has been beneficial for the wheat crop and has helped cover crops provide more organic matter than if they went dormant earlier.

But he says he would still like to see some temperature variations to work on soil structure.

“Warm at this point of the year, that doesn’t really matter, if we get some freeze thaw cycles, some wet-dry cycles some snow, like we normally get, I don’t think we’ve lost or gained very much,” Johnson says. “It is giving the wheat a better chance, particularly the late planted wheat a better chance and the fact it stayed reasonably dry, though not everywhere helps as well.”

Johnson says the extension of the growing season through November in many parts of the province also helped cover crops add organic matter that will help build soil for the future.

He is surprised that in a year that the economics of growing wheat is not good because the price is low compared to corn and soybeans, farmers planted almost 900,000 acres.

That’s 200,000 more than Johnson expected but he says because studies show that including wheat in the rotation means corn and soybean yields increase in future years it is a good decision.