Will frost hurt Ontario’s corn crop?

Aug 11, 2014

By Amanda Brodhagen, Farms.com

Ontario’s second largest cash crop, corn, could be vulnerable to frost this year due to late spring planting, according to Ontario Agriculture Ministry cereal specialist Peter Johnson.

Johnson’s comments were first reported in the Simcoe Reformer newspaper, where he explained that 2014 is not turning out to be “real corn weather.” According to Johnson, the corn crop ideally needs about 65 growing days from August 10th in order to mature - which means that the ideal frost date would be about October 15, which he admits is “asking for a lot.”

While the calendar dates don't appear to be ideal for the province’s corn crop to have enough time to mature, farmers shouldn’t fret just yet. “We’ve had a cooler than normal summer, but in most cases there has been enough heat,” Moe Agostino, commodity strategist for Farms.com Risk Management said in an interview, adding that most of the crop has caught up with its heat units.

Agostino says that as he understands it, if a corn field has tasselled by August 10th, than fields are less likely to be damaged by frost. “There will always be the odd farmer whose crop will be subject to frost,” he said. “But from my travels across the province, the corn crop looks to be in pretty good shape,” noting that the corn fields he’s seen are all tasselled.

He says that farmers should sit tight and wait and see what happens, adding that it could be a hot fall. Depending on how the weather holds, it could be a late harvest (which is to be expected) or it could be earlier than originally thought. “It’s probably going to be a late crop,” said Agostino.

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