Ontario Field Crop Report
2010 Corn Seasonal Summary
Table of Contents
- Growing Season
- Corn Pest Problems
- 2011 Outlook
For emerging issues, questions or to provide feedback on this report,
contact the CropLine at 1-888-449-0937. Technical information can
also be obtained at the OMAFRA
Field Crops Webpage and Crop
Pest Ontario. Referenced OMAFRA Publications include the Agronomy
Guide for Field Crops (Publication
811), the Field Crop Protection Guide (Publication
812), Guide to Weed Control (Publication
75), and Ontario Weeds (Publication
505). These can be obtained from your OMAFRA Resource Centre,
or by calling 1-800-668-9938.
The 2010 corn growing season was excellent! Conditions early in
the season were very conducive to early planting. The 2010 growing
season was characterized by adequate rainfall in nearly all parts
of the province; a distinct lack of stress during flowering allowed
for excellent pollination. Ontario Crop Heat Unit (CHU) accumulation
was above the 30 year normal for nearly all locations in the province.
For example, the CHU accumulation (May 1 to season-end) at London
was 8% above normal, Mount Forest was 5% above normal and Ottawa
was 4% above the 30 year normal.
Corn yields were record breaking - with 95% of the yields submitted
to Agricorp, the provincial average stands at 172 bu/ac (10.79 tonnes/ha);
undoubtedly, when all acres are reported this will result in a provincial
average yield that is significantly higher than any previous year.
Prior to 2010 the highest OMAFRA provincial average corn yield was
156 bu/ac (9.78 tonnes/ha) in 2008.
The 2010 harvested grain corn acreage was 1,860,000 acres (753,000
ha). The early start to the season coupled with high CHUs and good
harvest conditions meant that virtually all the crop was harvested
before winter set in.
April weather was abnormally warm and relatively dry resulting
in perhaps the best soil conditions and earliest corn planting ever
experienced in the province. It is estimated that between 80 and
90 percent of the corn was planted by May 5th. Early planting and
warm conditions resulted in much of the crop emerging in late April
or early May and effectively added 150 CHU to the season. London
for example, accumulated 3404 CHU from May 1 to season end, but
for growers that planted in mid-April the effective CHU total for
those areas was closer to 3550.
Ground frost, with temperatures in the - 1 to - 4 C range on May
9 or 10 damaged much of the emerged corn. Green tissue ranging from
the spike to 3 leaf stage was frozen to the ground in many fields.
The corn recovered from this damage relatively quickly. There were
some reports that the frost damage caused increased variability
in some fields.
Rainfall was low throughout August in many areas and combined with
corn that had flowered relatively early (July 10-20) meant that
silage harvest was very early with some producers being finished
silage harvest before September 1. Dry conditions in August did
become severe enough to reduce corn yield significantly but these
situations were quite isolated.
In some areas stalk quality became an issue as the grain corn harvest
developed. Corn plants that had attempted to meet relatively large
starch demands for grain filling resulted in increased levels of
stalk cannibalization and lodging. Yield losses due to these conditions
were for the most part minimal. On average, grain corn harvest moistures
were abnormally low resulting in significant drying cost savings
for many producers.
Corn Pest Challenges
Western Bean Cutworm (WBC) continued to be a significant concern
across many areas in 2010. The number of counties where the WBC
moths were trapped increased and moth numbers increased dramatically
compared to previous years in some counties. In isolated areas the
presence of egg masses and larvae reached the threshold where control
was required. In very isolated areas the insect feeding was significant,
to the point that if no control measure was in place (either genetic
protection or insecticide application) yield losses approached 15-20
bu/acre (.94 - 1.26 tonnes/ha).
Leaf and stalk diseases were generally quite low in 2010. Ear mould
presence was also below normal and vomitoxin in the corn generally
did not represent a challenge in terms of grain corn end use. A
survey conducted at the beginning of the harvest period reported
vomitoxin (DON) at less that 1 PPM in 76% of the samples gathered.
Optimism is high for corn in 2011 due to the high productivity
of the corn crop in 2010 and more favourable commodity prices. This
is tempered somewhat by increasing input prices including fertilizer,
seed, and land rents. Other areas of particular interest in 2011
include, 1) monitoring WBC development and in some areas focusing
on hybrids that offer genetic protection, and 2) nitrogen and other
input recommendations in the face of higher yield expectations.