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Export date: Sun Nov 19 3:08:52 2017 / +0000 GMT

Difficult summer for Dufferin County farmers




By Jasen Obermeyer

“I can't remember the last time it was like this,” is how Bob Johnson, owner of Mono Lea Farms, described this year's summer weather.


Summer 2017 will almost certainly go down in record books as one of the coolest, wettest summers, with two major flooding incidents in Dufferin County, high water levels, and the sun barely able to shine some light.


It was a stark contrast from 2016, where we experienced almost never-ending record warm temperatures, and long streaks of dry days, barely able to squeeze a drop of rain.


For the farming industry, the wet and cool summer made things very difficult for them.


Bill McCutcheon, president of Dufferin Federation of Agriculture, says the amount of rain in June and July in particular made 2017 a very “strange year.”


He says the biggest problem was hay, as the continuous amounts of rain made it very difficult to keep it dry, giving farmers a small window to get it off the ground. “Even for silage, we need two to three days of decent weather.”


Mr. Johnson says this year's weather will affect a farmers' income “one way or another.”


He described to the Free Press how he stopped planting in early July, but was already a month behind. He couldn't plant for two weeks straight in June, because of the continuous rain, and when it stopped, the ground was too moist, and by the time it was dry, it would rain again.


He explained that by June, it was too late to keep planting corn, so he switched to soybeans. “With the excessive rain, it just took a toll on everything.”


Jim Irvine, Grand Valley Branch Grain Originator, says that despite this summer, “some people will be surprised” at how much will be harvested.


Mr. McCutcheon says the crops matured quickly because of the unusual, warmer temperatures in the fall. “If we hadn't had the September we had, and all the hot weather, the corn crop would have really been in trouble.”


Mr. Johnson reiterated, saying if not for the “tremendous fall,” farmers would have had “a lot of devastation” as a lot more crop wouldn't have matured.


Despite the summer-like September and fall, Mr. Johnson says he will have to harvest later than normal.


In discussing the yields, Mr. McCutcheon says soybeans will be a bit lower, because of how short they have grown, while corn is “pretty much off.”


At the time of the interview, Mr. Irvine said that around 80 per cent of soybeans has been harvested in the county, while only 10 per cent of corn has been harvested.


Mr. Johnsons says that for him, winter wheat was good, while barley was off “a little bit,” as there wasn't enough heat or sunshine for it to mature.


Discussing the impact on farmers, Mr. McCutcheon pointed to the livestock, as it will cost farmers more “for supplements,” meaning higher costs for operation.


He added that while there will be a good amount of crops, “the quality just isn't there.”


Mr. Johnsons explained that, his being a mixed farm, having chickens and cows, and growing various crops throughout the year, meant that certain parts will be okay when others aren't.


“You can't have all your income off of one thing, because if that one thing goes bad, you're screwed.”


Asked to describe this year's weather and farming season, Mr. Johnson simply said in that in his farming career, 2017 “has been the most difficult.”

Post date: 2017-10-27 13:39:54
Post date GMT: 2017-10-27 17:39:54
Post modified date: 2017-10-27 13:40:29
Post modified date GMT: 2017-10-27 17:40:29
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