-12.2 C
Wednesday, January 22, 2020
Connecting Our Communities

Weather has some crops down, but not out


EDSS student wins U.S. baseball scholarship

It’s January and nowhere near Florida, but St. Jacobs’ Blake Jacklin is in a baseball frame of mind....

News Briefs

Woolwich nixes traffic islands Displeased with the troublesome pedestrian islands installed during the Region of Waterloo’s reconstruction of Church Street...

Woolwich proposes 5% tax hike for 2020

Budget talks underway this week, Woolwich council is looking at five per cent hike in property taxes, a...

Woolwich looks to add green projects as part of climate action plan

Planting trees remains Woolwich’s priority in rolling out a 0.5 per cent greening levy on property taxes again...


clear sky
-12.2 ° C
-9.4 °
-15.6 °
92 %
1 %
-1 °
2 °
2 °
2 °
1 °

The wet, cool weather that defined the spring and early summer have taken somewhat of a toll on crops, even here in the region.

The fields have been soaked, the air has been damp and cool and the sunshine has been too fleeting and tepid, at least for those trying to get the most out of their summer. But what that means for the area’s crops come harvest time is still anyone’s guess.

The wet spring weather delayed the planting of crops like soybeans and corn by a few weeks, but there is still plenty of time to make up for that.

“Now that’s not the end of the world as long as conditions are favorable from here on in,” said Horst Bohner, soybean specialist for the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA), about the delay in planting.

“It’s impossible to predict soybean yield at this stage of development. So certainly there’s been challenges with spring herbicide because the fields were so wet, so it’s hard to get in at the right time.”

The corn crop in the region, by contrast, has been doing fairly well, according to Ben Rosser, an OMAFRA corn specialist, especially compared to the areas to the north and east of the province.

“I think in the Waterloo area things are reasonably good,” said Rosser. “There’s other parts of the province that are continuing to get wet weather, but I think in southern Ontario we haven’t got as much of that. Despite some later planting than guys would normally do in the springtime, I think things have shaped fairly good.”

The excessive rainfall in the area has in fact been record-breaking. According to the University of Waterloo weather station’s June report, “looking at the first half of the year (2017), the total precipitation of 617.8 mm is the second wettest first six months of the year, only coming behind 1947 when there was 624.8 mm.”

After a wet spring delayed planting, some crops have managed to play catch-up, though experts would like to see more sun and hotter temperatures to move things along prior to harvest. [Faisal Ali / The Observer]

That rainfall has caused considerable problems for the local soybeans, says Bohner. Besides waterlogged fields, the wet is also putting the crops at risk of diseases that thrive in the damp like aphids and white mold.

“We are concerned about white mold – that’s a disease that favours when it’s cooler and wetter, and so far that’s what we’ve been having at this point anyway.”

Going forward, what soybean farmers ought to be hoping over the next few months is a balmy 28 to 30 degrees Celsius during the days and 20 to 24 C at night, with perhaps a mild shower once a week. Further rainfall like we’ve been having would be a problem – at least for the soy. The corn, by comparison, is not so effected, says Rosser.

“At this point I don’t think that’s a major issue. It would take a really excessive, excessive amount of rainfall at this point to cause big issues, and certainly the corn crops are using a lot of water at this stage, so frequent rain at this stage is certainly a welcome thing,” he said, adding that some more heat would be nice though.

Besides the field crops, the region’s produce has also been doing fairly well, says Trevor Herrle-Braun of Herrle’s Country Farm Market in St. Agatha. The operation grows about 250 acres worth of produce like strawberries, peas, beans and fruit corn and sources other varieties from local farms.

“I think we’re pretty fortunate compared to a lot of other areas in the province in that we’ve missed these really, really big, heavy rains that have dumped inches and inches. Like up in the Bradford marsh, like down London way, Woodstock. South of the 401 there they’ve really gotten hit very, very hard, and we’ve missed a lot of that,” he said.

As for the weather we would like to see going forward? “We’d like an inch of rain a week, if we can have that – at night,” says Herrle-Braun.

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to The Observer's online community. Pseudonyms are not permitted. By submitting a comment, you accept that The Observer has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner The Observer chooses. Please note that The Observer does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our submission guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.


The new face of health promotion

There’s a new face around the Woolwich Community Health Centre. Gebre Berlihun has taken on the role of public health promoter after the retirement of 25-year employee Joy Finney in October.

In Print. Online. In Pictures. In Depth.

You obviously love community journalism. Thanks for visiting today. If you have a great local story, let us know.

EDCL donates $1,000 as thank-you to Floradale firefighters

Thanking the Woolwich Fire Department, Elmira District Community Living this week donated $1,000 to the Floradale station. Firefighters from Floradale...

Choir to bring the sounds of Africa to Elmira

Updated Jan 21, 2020: Due to unforeseen circumstances the Watoto Children’s Choir travel has been delayed, so sadly we will have to...

Applejacks extend winning streak to three

The new year continues to be good to the Wellesley Applejacks, who picked up a pair of wins over the weekend to make...

New app a one-stop shop for region’s waste program

Not sure when your garbage will be picked up? What’s currently allowed in the recycling bin? There’s an app for that.

EDSS student wins U.S. baseball scholarship

It’s January and nowhere near Florida, but St. Jacobs’ Blake Jacklin is in a baseball frame of mind. That’s not a passing fancy,...
- Advertisement -