Ontario Field Crop Report
2011 Corn Seasonal Summary
Table of Contents
- Growing Season
- Corn Challenges
- 2012 Outlook
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 2011 corn growing season had a bit of everything; ugly, bad
and excellent! Conditions early in the season were not conducive
to planting, as April was relatively cool and May was significantly
wetter than normal. Corn planting dragged on to mid-June in some
parts of the province. Dry weather in July stressed the crop but
August rainfall made for an excellent grain filling period. By the
end of the season the Ontario Crop Heat Unit (CHU) accumulation
was marginally above the 30 year normal for most locations in the
province. For example, the CHU accumulation (May 1 to season-end)
at London was 4% above normal, Mount Forest was 3% above normal
and Ottawa was 6% above the 30 year normal.
Corn yields were surprisingly good - with about 50 % of the yields
submitted to Agricorp, the provincial average yield stands at 161
bu/ac (10.1 tonnes/ha); when all acres are accounted for the provincial
corn yield for 2011 will certainly be higher than the past five
year average of 149.1bu/acre.
The 2011 harvested grain corn acreage will be approximately 1.85
million acres (749,000 ha). The relatively open fall coupled with
high CHUs and reasonable harvest conditions meant that virtually
all the crop was harvested before December 15.
April weather was abnormally cool and wet and afforded almost no
opportunities for corn planting. The first window for corn planting
was May 8-13; it is estimated that 60% of the total crop was planted
at this time. May rainfall was above average in most areas of the
province and corn planting after the 13th of May was a hit-and-miss
effort. Significant corn acreage was planted in the first two weeks
Rainfall was low throughout July in many areas. The last two weeks
of July were particularly hot and dry, this coincided with corn
pollination for all of the early planted corn and on some sandy
soils kernel set was poor. However, for the vast majority of corn
acres early August rains came in time to preserve kernel number
and excellent growing conditions throughout August and September
led to kernel size that was larger than average and often resulted
in above average yields.
Killing frosts did not occur for most of the corn growing areas
until well into October. This allowed for even the June planted
corn to be harvested at grain moisture levels that were acceptable
Early season weather conditions tended to reduce mineralization
of organic matter or result in losses of N fertilizer through denitrification.
The OMAFRA Pre-Sidedress Nitrate Test (PSNT) Survey done June 10-15
indicated soil nitrate levels that were below average. Research
plots and producer fields tended to indicate above average N fertilizer
requirements in 2011; most likely a combination of the three factors
1) reduced residual N from soil sources, 2) losses of applied N,
and 3) increased demand from high yield corn crops.
Leaf and stalk diseases were generally quite low in 2011 however
ear mould presence was above average and significant vomitoxin concern
exists with the 2011 grain corn supply in certain parts of the province.
Western Bean Cutworm (WBC) continued to expand its range across
Ontario in 2011. Average moth captures per trap nearly tripled compared
with 2010 trap captures. Threshold was reached and control was required
in isolated areas in Chatham-Kent, Lambton, Middlesex, Norfolk and
Elgin Counties. In areas where eggs and larvae were present and
feeding damage was observed, estimated yield losses approached 7
bu/acre or 3.4% yield loss.
Optimism is high for corn in 2012 due to the high productivity
of the corn crop in the past two years. This is tempered somewhat
by increasing input prices including fertilizer, seed, and land
rents. Other areas of particular interest in 2012 include, 1) hybrid
selection or fungicide application for improved ear mould and vomitoxin
suppression 2) monitoring WBC development and in some areas focusing
on hybrids that offer genetic protection, and 2) examining fertilizer
input recommendations in the face of increasing yield expectations.