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Ontario Grain Farmer Magazine is the flagship publication of Grain Farmers of Ontario and a source of information for our province’s grain farmers. 

The challenge is on! Is your field ready?


the seed is selected and the planters prepared, all that’s left is the right soil moisture reading and the 2011 season will be off to the races.


Every farmer is hoping for a good year with high yields and good quality across the whole farm. But, every farm has its sweet spot: the back field that’s high in organic matter or the field behind the barn that gets manure every year.

The challenges have been announced and GFO is anxious to see who will step up to the plate and put that sweet spot of a field forward.

“Everyone loves a little friendly competition and GFO’s production challenges are just the venue,” says Jaye Atkins, Vice President of Strategic Development at GFO.

The Winter Wheat Challenge was launched last fall at Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show and the Soybean Yield Challenge and Spring Wheat Challenge saw their introduction at GFO’s March Classic.

Open to all farmers in Ontario, the three challenges offer a great opportunity to share best management practices for yield and quality with farmers across the province and of course, there’s always the draw of the great prizes.

The deadlines to register for each challenge vary, check out the challenge websites or turn to page 18 for the full rules and registration info.

soybean challenge is expanded
Soybean growers can get excited about some changes to the challenge this year. The 2011 Soybean Yield Challenge has been split into two divisions – an IP division and a non-IP division.

“IP and non-IP soybeans require different management practices and we wanted to recognize those differences within the challenge,” says Devitt. “The new divisions also allow us to hand out more prizes, which is always fun.”

The challenge is still separated into zones and winners will be chosen in each zone within each division. Two grand prizes will be awarded to the IP farmer and the
non-IP farmer with the highest yield. Both farmers will win a trip for two to the National Farm Machinery Show in Louisville, Kentucky. The IP prizes are made possible by DuPont and the non-IP prizes are made possible by Monsanto.

All registrants will have an opportunity to learn about high yielding production practices from researchers and the challenge winners at a banquet held at the end of the season. The Soybean Yield Challenge banquet has been made possible by Pioneer Hi-Bred Ltd.

new winter wheat challenge
Launched last fall, the winter wheat challenge is heating up as farmers examine how their crop survived the winter. “If early scouting is telling you that your crop is in good shape, you should definitely register for the challenge,” says Crosby Devitt of GFO.

The Winter Wheat Challenge is the newest competition to join GFO’s suite of production challenges and there is every indication that it’s going to be a stiff competition.

With cash prizes of up to $1,500, there is good reason to enter.

spring wheat challenge attracts top growers
The second year of the Spring Wheat Challenge is also expected to be a close competition. The average yield for last year’s registrants was 71.9 bushels per acre, a whopping 36 percent higher than the provincial average.

“It’s clear we have elite growers in Ontario and we expect them all to come out and try their hand at the prizes,” says Atkins. “Even if you don’t think your field will win, it’s still worthwhile to enter because you never know what you might learn.”

There are cash prizes for the Spring  Wheat Challenge with the first place winner taking home $1,500. Both the Winter and the Spring Wheat Challenges are made possible by generous sponsorship from Bayer CropScience and seed industry partners. •


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