Weâ€™ve heard a lot about the wet conditions that have held up harvest in much of Ontario this year. The rain continues to fall as temperatures dip through the end of October, and some Ontario corn farmers are starting to consider a unique solution: leaving the corn in the field until the weather gets warmer in Spring.
In many late-planted fields there just hasnâ€™t been enough warm weather for the crop to mature. Peter Johnson, a crop specialist with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs says: â€śIf you try to combine that now it would break up badlyâ€ť, referring to immature corn fields with a moisture content still much too high.
Leaving corn in the fields is a risky prospect: too much snow can bury and damage the crop. Corn, like winter wheat, can survive the cold weather, provided it doesnâ€™t suffer too much snow or ice damage. Still, itâ€™s a rare practice: according to the London Free Press, farmers in the London area last harvested corn in the spring in 1992.
Farmers who donâ€™t want to wait can try harvesting now, but drying after harvest can be very expensive, especially when the cropâ€™s moisture content is as high as it will likely be for most in an extreme case like this year. Thereâ€™s still time for farmers to get their crops off if the weather is favourable in the next few weeks, but itâ€™s increasingly likely that weâ€™ll be driving by fields full of corn this winter.