This past weekend numerous farms across Ontario were hit with frost, with temperatures dipping to as low as -3 degrees Celsius in some areas. Frost doesn’t just hurt your garden–it can seriously damage corn, soybeans and wheat as well as alfalfa, fruit and vegetable crops. Unlike a garden, which can be covered up to be protected from frost, it’s impossible for grain farmers to cover the acres upon acres of crops with blankets or pails.
When there are frost warnings out many farmers get extremely worried, and for good reason too. After the frost on Saturday morning, hundreds of acres of corn and soybeans had been affected. If a corn plant is still fairly young (with 4 leaves or fewer), there is still a chance that the growing point still located below ground will be able to push through the frosted off leaves and continue growing. If the plant is any larger than that, there is a good chance that the growing point has been frozen and the plant will not be able to continue growing. With soybeans, it’s a slightly different story–soybean growing points are above ground as soon as the plant emerges, so after a harsh enough frost it will simply stop growing. When there is significant frost damage to an early season crop, farmers might have to tear up the field and plant again.
At this point of the growing season most farmers have their planting equipment cleaned, repaired and put away for the season. But, it looks like in some areas across Ontario today many are pulling their planters back out of the shed, heading back to the field and replanting their 2015 crop.