Skip to content

2024 planting conditions: less than ideal

If April showers bring May flowers, then what will May and June showers bring this summer?

Did you notice how much it rained this spring? Ontario grain farmers sure did. It was a wet and very challenging spring for many farmers across the province.

Weather and the unpredictability of it is one challenge that farmers are always fighting against. They cannot control the weather; they only react (and react, and react again) or adjust their farming plans. This spring brought a lot of rainy weather – with only a few days between each rain to dry out the fields. Wet weather is always challenging in Ontario: the grains cannot be planted into wet, muddy soil. And, with only a few days between the rains, it was a challenge to have the soil dry out enough to till and/or plant the grains into.

All in all, many farmers across the province faced a draining, exhausting, and challenging spring.

What is the impact down the road?

Right now, it is hard to say what the impact will be this summer and fall. The later the grains get planted, the less time they have to grow – the first fall frosts won’t wait for the fields to mature. There were also a lot of last-minute changes; corn needs longer to grow than soybeans, so when farmers couldn’t get their corn planted in time, they switched to soybeans. Some fields were left as “unseeded” and not planted as it got too late in the season.

The impacts will likely be on the farmers and their businesses – did they plant enough to fulfill their contracts with grain buyers? Will the prices be high enough in the fall to offset the fewer acres planted? Will the shortened growing season be “good” enough to have high yields? What pest issues did we have in the fields with the wet weather – are there more weeds, insects, or diseases in the fields that will need to be sprayed? What about the soil conditions? Is compaction or soil crusting happening in the fields? Did any farmers need to replant after a massive downpour of rain and AFTER their crops were planted?

So many unique circumstances affected farmers across the province – every field is different on every farm and will need unique management. And the rain was sporadic! Some areas “missed the rains” but were able to plant on schedule in ideal soil conditions, and those crops are growing well and enjoying the sun, heat, and rain the past few weeks have brought.