Ontario Field Crop Report
2012 Corn Seasonal Summary
Table of Contents
- Growing Season
- 2013 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 2012 corn year had high expectations, high tension and in the
end quite high yields. Corn planting was completed in near record
time. On June 1, we had near record acreage and arguably the best
looking corn crop ever. Dry weather in June and July significantly
stressed the crop but August rainfall made for a reasonable grain
filling period. By the end of the season the Ontario Crop Heat Unit
(CHU) accumulation was above the 30 year normal for most locations
in the province. For example, the CHU accumulation (May 1 to season-end)
at London was 5% above normal, Mount Forest was 4% above normal
and Ottawa was 6% above the 30 year normal.
Corn yields were surprisingly good; with about 77 % of the yields
submitted to Agricorp, the provincial average yield stands at 158
bu/ac (9.9 tonnes/ha); when all calculations are completed the provincial
corn yield for 2012 will most likely settle at or very near the
past five year average of 149.6 bu/acre.
The 2012 harvested grain corn acreage will be approximately 2.2
million acres (890,700 ha) up significantly from last year. The
relatively open fall coupled with high CHUs and good harvest conditions
meant that virtually all the crop was harvested before December
April weather was abnormally dry and planting conditions were excellent
across most of the province such that by May 5 corn planting was
virtually complete. May rainfall was near normal in most areas of
Areas to the south and west of London received good rainfall distribution
through most of June and July. However the rest of the province
was quite dry through this period. Certain areas (i.e. Niagara,
Waterloo, and Renfrew) were particularly hard hit by the dry weather.
However, for the vast majority of corn acres August rains came in
time to preserve kernel number and decent growing conditions throughout
August and September lead to good yields in many areas and record
breaking yields in the south west portions of the province.
All corn matured (black layer formation) before killing frosts.
Some corn that filled quite slowly because of dry soil conditions
did not dry down normally. A relatively wet October left some grain
no drier in late October that it was at the end of September. Favourable
November conditions allowed the crop to dry down and for the most
part test weight and drying concerns were minimal.
Good soil conditions early in the season and low precipitation
generally allowed for excellent early root growth and help set the
crop up to withstand a dry July.
Early season weather conditions tended to increase mineralization
of organic matter and result higher residual nitrogen in the soil.
The OMAFRA Pre-Sidedress Nitrate Test (PSNT) Survey done in late
May indicated soil nitrate levels that were above average. Research
plots and producer fields tended to indicate N fertilizer requirements
in 2012 were below average even in the face of high yields.
Leaf and stalk diseases were generally quite low in 2012 and ear
mould presence and the resulting vomitoxin in the grain supply was
below average as well.
Optimism is high for corn in 2013 due to the high productivity
of the corn crop in the past several years. This is tempered somewhat
by increasing input prices including fertilizer, seed, and land
rents. Some new interest may be expressed over the use of pesticides
as an insurance plan even in the absence of any identifiable pest,
i.e. fungicide application on corn, seed treatments and genetic
protection from root worm on rotated ground.