By Grain Farmers of Ontario
April 29, 2014, Ontario – Emerging from a uniquely long and harsh winter, farmers are keen to get out on the land and plant their crops.
The tough winter has left some areas with damaged winter wheat crops. The southwestern region of the
province is looking better than expected, but towards central Ontario farmers are unsure of the crop’s condition, according to a press release from Grain Farmers of Ontario.
“A real benefit of winter wheat is the ability to plant it in the fall and have a head-start on the growing season in
the spring,” says Henry Van Ankum, chair of Grain Farmers of Ontario. “With the winter wheat struggling this
spring, and possibly needing to be replanted, we’ve lost some of that time advantage.”
Planting of other grain crops, like corn and soybeans, is also testing the patience of farmers across Ontario. The
tremendous amount of snow received in many areas this winter has resulted in excessive moisture in many
fields. Until that moisture is pulled out of the surface, planting equipment will remain in the shed.
“We know we aren’t the only groups feeling some pain after such a challenging winter,” says Van Ankum. “We’re
hearing that many other groups are reporting losses as well – from wildlife to pollinators.”
Certainly, one of the questions on many farmers’ minds is how the honeybee population fared through the ice,
snow, and extreme cold. Over the past few weeks, as beekeepers have opened their hives and winterkill bee
losses have been reported. The population loss numbers have not been released, but historically, cold spikes and
long winters have proven detrimental to honeybees.
“Every spring, those of us in agriculture have to evaluate the effects of the winter,” says Van Ankum. “We are
certainly glad to be through winter, but the losses and damage we are seeing this spring may create an uphill
course for the 2014 season.”