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Could the rain last night save this year’s grain crops?

Storm clouds over a wheat field

Earlier this week, Environment Canada stated that the past 100 days had been the driest days in Toronto’s history. This fact is true for most of Ontario, as there has been very little rain anywhere since early spring. You may have also read that it has been the hottest, driest summer in 75 years. What began as an incredible start for crops in Ontario has turned into a crop disaster.

Crops need water throughout their growing season in order to sustain growth and produce grain. In some areas of North America, irrigation is used on field crops due to low rain fall amounts. Unfortunately, irrigation isn’t a common setup in field crops in Ontario; the majority of our farmers depend on mother nature to water their crops.

A few storms rolled through Ontario yesterday, and more are expected this afternoon. At my home farm, we received one inch of rain, and although we were extremely happy (at least our grass looks a little greener), the effect on our crops will be limited. This is because the vegetative growth of the plant is already complete, and the plants are well into the grain production stage of their development.

Although the rain hasn’t broken us out of the drought, it will ease the stress on crops still in the field, and in most cases it will allow them to produce slightly higher quality grain than if there hadn’t been any rain at all. Unfortunately, for most farms the crop yield was determined a couple of weeks ago, while it was still extremely hot and dry.

Yes, the rain helped — but if it had of come a couple weeks earlier, things would have been looking a lot brighter.