The 2019 Ontario winter wheat crop has millers reporting excellent quality.
Most of the 2019 wheat crop was graded a No. 1 or No. 2 this year, with No. 2 being average for an Ontario crop, says Joanna Follings, OMAFRA cereals specialist.
While yield was on the lower side for this year, and there were fewer acres that got planted in the west 2018 fall, the quality made up for it.
Follings says production was excellent given poor planting conditions and a freeze/thaw cycle the fall of 2018, followed by a cool, wet spring.
A small percentage of No. 3 and No. 4 winter wheat crop was found in the southwestern area of Ontario; it was found primarily to be affected by mildew and 80 per cent of the winter wheat in the south west was still in the grade one or two category.
Follings says the quality of the wheat crop this year can be attributed to a couple of things.
“I think growers really see the importance of managing for fusarium, they are selecting varieties that are resistant, but they are also using other management strategies like crop rotation.”
As of October 17, Follings reports that not all winter wheat is planted with still some areas in the most southwestern part of Ontario to still be planted.
“They can push dates a little bit later because they are in the banana belt,” says Follings.
Follings says with the increased number of fallow fields this year, farmers wanted to plant early.
“It’s tough to hold [producers] off on planting too early, there are risks associated with insect pressures and diseases. As well, it gets a lot more growth in the fall, and you tend to get some issues with lodging.”
Follings says the trend over the last number of years is to more wheat acres, despite the challenges of getting wheat planted in late 2018.
“Growers are really seeing the value and importance of diverse rotations. Despite the challenges, farmers are still sticking with wheat and seeing the importance and value of it in a rotation, but also in terms of economics and the impact on their bottom line.”