-0.4 C
Thursday, November 14, 2019
Connecting Our Communities

Weather has some crops down, but not out


Restored Victorian home in Elmira the subject of TV competition

Along with the influx of visitors that comes with the holiday season, Elmira will see one new...

End of an era for MP

Two weeks having passed since the federal election, Harold Albrecht has had time to reflect on his...

Candidates make pitch to voters in Woolwich

Largely sticking to their respective party lines, the five candidates running in the Kitchener-Conestoga riding made their one all-candidates...

Meet the candidates

By Veronica Reiner & Aneta Rebiszewski Five candidates are vying for your vote in...


overcast clouds
-0.4 ° C
2 °
-2.8 °
58 %
90 %
2 °
-0 °
1 °
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.


New watering system is powered by the sun

Many hands may make light work, but automating the process really lessens the load. That’s especially helpful when the work involves relying on volunteers to provide the manual labour.

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.

EDSS looks to make use of new push for skilled-trades training

With measures taken on the provincial level to encourage high school students to enter the skilled trades, EDSS is in the process...

Virgil Wins the Lottery … but, then again, maybe not

It’s easy to day dream about striking it rich quick by winning the lottery, and all the possibilities that come along with...

New St. Clements fire station officially open for service

The new fire station in St. Clements was officially declared open for service last Saturday. The $1.3-million project...

Woolwich stays course with economic development

Woolwich’s vacant economic development and tourism officer (EDTO) position will be retained, councillors decided this week despite any numbers or measures to show...

Sugar Kings turn the screws on Brampton

Another home-and-home winning weekend helped the Elmira Sugar Kings solidify their hold on top spot in the GOJHL’s Midwestern Conference. A pair of...

Junior girls’ capture EDSS’ first WCSSAA basketball title

In a season that already saw the team rack up win after win, the EDSS junior girls’ basketball team reached new heights...
- Advertisement -