Crops rise on a hot summer day. July 4, 2020 Photo by Melanie Irwin Crops rise on a hot summer day. July 4, 2020 Photo by Melanie Irwin

Area farmers welcome rain, hope for more

After weeks of dry conditions, the recent rainfall certainly comes as good news for area farmers but more is needed this growing season.

Ontario Federation of Agriculture Director for Lambton and Middlesex counties Crispin Colvin said the recent rainfall, which began on Sunday, was much needed.

"The crops were off to a reasonably good start because we had some pretty moist soils but it was dry for so long … that stresses the crops," Colvin said. "This [rain] will make a big difference. Whether it's enough rain, well obviously we'd like more. But I think it'll be an improvement, we'll see things grow but we'll still need more rain."

Ideally, Colvin said they'd like to see a steady day or two of rain every week or even every other week combined with the hot temperatures seen in early June.

However, if extended periods of drought continue this summer, Colvin said it will likely affect yields.

"For example, you see the wheat fields now, they're lovely and green. You see the heads of wheat stems of the stalks, but without moisture, they don't fill out very well, so they become quite light so there's not a lot of grain in those. That'll probably be the first crop to have an impact from the lack of rain," he said.

Other crops that may be affected include soybeans and corn.

"It'll impact yields if we continue to get this type of long dry spells, they need the moisture to fill out the kernels of corn or the pods in soybeans and so on, so without the moisture, you just don't get the yields," he said. "You might get the crop but you won't get the 200 bushel an acre of corn, it might be down considerably."

Whether or not the cost of corn will increase is unknown at this point. Colvin said Ontario is basically governed by the Chicago Board of Trade.

"For prices to go up considerably to make up for any shortfall that there might be in yields, would really require a lot of the midwestern U.S. to have a substantial failure and I don't think they're going to have that," Colvin said. "I certainly don't wish that on any of my fellow farmers, no matter what country they're in."

At least for this week, more rain is possible, according to the forecast. Environment Canada is calling for a chance of showers and a risk of a thunderstorm Tuesday afternoon and there's a 60 per cent chance of showers again on Thursday.

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