20% of Ontario’s wheat crop lost due to harsh winter
Published Friday, May 23, 2014 5:55PM EDT
Last Updated Friday, May 23, 2014 6:48PM EDT
Victims of southern Ontario’s unusually harsh winter are continuing to emerge from the ground – or not.
Across Ontario, 20 per cent of wheat crops planted in the fall have been reported as damaged.
“From Windsor to Owen Sound to the Guelph area, there seems to be damage,” says Geoff Smith, a grain specialist with Agricorp, which connects farmers with risk management services.
The culprit? The perfect storm of adverse conditions left many wheat crops unable to grow before snowfall, and unable to battle back afterward.
“There were those stresses right from the get-go,” says Smith.
“We had flooding, and then we had cool, cool temperatures with almost no snow cover. Then the snow came back, and then we had some really low temperatures.”
A cool spring didn’t help matters either.
Dan Shantz, who farms grains near New Hamburg, says he’s lost 275 of his 1,000 acres due to the rough winter.
“It’s the worst winter recovery for our crop I’ve ever seen,” he says.
Crop insurance will pay Shantz $85 per damaged acre to cover Shantz's seeding costs – but that’s a far cry from the $700 per acre he expected had he harvested the wheat.
Shantz plans to plant soybeans on the affected fields.
While the wheat would have been ready for harvest by July, the soybeans won’t be there until October or November.
It’s expected the crop losses will affect the export market more significantly than the wheat used domestically to produce flour and other items.