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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. 

GrainTALK for October 2020


Markus Haerle, Chair, Grain Farmers of Ontario

A Q&A with Grain Farmers of Ontario chair, Markus Haerle.

How is Grain Farmers of Ontario addressing the need to develop new markets during COVID-19 and travel restrictions?

With every change in the world as a result of COVID-19, we are also able to find new opportunities. The Market Development department is working on resources for export markets that highlight the quality, sustainability, and safety of Ontario grains and grain production. Additionally, we are looking at how virtual trade missions can be conducted to further our relationships with existing markets, and start building connections in new markets. The U.S. trade issues continue to impact us, but we are working on differentiating our products, as well as our reputation as a global leader and collaborator for international markets. •

Do you have a question for our chair? Email


Grain Farmers of Ontario has welcomed Dr. Paul Hoekstra as the new vice president, strategic development. He officially started in this role on September 14, 2020.

Hoekstra comes to our organization after working with Syngenta since 2004, most recently in the role of government and industry relations manager. He is a passionate advocate of modern agriculture and has been involved in helping Ontario farmers provide a safe, sustainable, and affordable food supply. Hoekstra has a Ph.D. from the University of Guelph and is a graduate of the Advanced Agricultural Leadership Program (AALP).

Hoekstra will oversee the communications, research, and market development teams within Grain Farmers of Ontario. His leadership experience and background in science, communications and business relationship development will be a great asset to our organization. •


Grain Farmers of Ontario thanks all farmer-members who provided their feedback in our recent survey about the risks and opportunities for the grain sector as well as feedback on what you think the future priorities for Grain Farmers of Ontario should be. This feedback is vital as we work to develop a new strategic plan for our organization.

The next step in this process is an evaluation of the changes and accomplishments we have seen within our organization and the broader grain industry since the last strategic plan was developed in 2016. The Board of Directors will then discuss the large strategic goals for our organization, facilitated by Synthesis Agri-Food. The goal is to have the new strategic plan developed in time to be presented to farmer-members during the January District Meetings. •


Grain Farmers of Ontario is beginning to plan for the 2021 January District Grain Committee Meetings and what format they will take if restrictions on gatherings and other public health measures remain in place due to COVID-19.

Please check for updates on the date and time of your District meeting. Details will also be published in the GrainTALK newsletter in upcoming issues of the Ontario Grain Farmer as they become finalized.

The Annual District Meetings are called to elect voting delegates for the coming year. This year delegates in odd-numbered districts will elect a director to serve a two-year term. Updates on our organization and grain industry issues are also provided. All barley, corn, oat, soybean, and wheat farmers are welcome and encouraged to attend. •


The Ontario Virtual Diagnostic Days combines the traditionally in-person Southwest Crop Diagnostic Day, Elora Crop Diagnostic Day, and Eastern Ontario Crop Diagnostic Day (Winchester) into a new provincial diagnostic video series available on A new one-hour episode will be posted every two weeks until October 21. Grain Farmers of Ontario is a sponsor of the event and the video series is free to access by all farmer-members. •


The Canadian Corn Pest Coalition is warning continuous corn farmers to check their fields for corn rootworm (CRW) resistance to Bt hybrids. Several farmers growing Bt rootworm hybrids are reporting unexpected injury by CRW to trait providers and research and extension scientists. Specifically, several fields in Huron, Perth and Durham Counties have been identified with injury to various Bt rootworm traits, providing an early warning of possible resistance development by CRW to some Bt traits. There is the potential for resistance development to be occurring in other regions of Ontario where use of Bt rootworm traits in continuous corn is prevalent.

More information and scouting guidelines to determine possible rootworm resistance are available at Look for additional information on how you can prevent resistance in the November issue of Ontario Grain Farmer. •


Soybean producers are reminded about the need to confirm drying charges which are now calculated under the Agreement for Marketing the Ontario Soybean Crop made under the Farm Products Marketing Act (O.Reg 485/09). Go to for a drying charges calculator.

Soybean drying charges are no longer tied to the price of soybeans. Cleaning and handling charges, as well as soybean drying charges/moisture discounts, are agreed upon by the dealer and the producer through competitive market forces, similar to the corn and wheat markets.

Producers should confirm all terms and conditions with their buyer before making their deliveries. •


Farmer-members and industry associates who have changes to their mailing address or wish to cancel their subscription to the Ontario Grain Farmer magazine can contact Phaedra McIntosh, Grain Farmers of Ontario database coordinator, at or 519-767-4130. •


Grain Farmers of Ontario held its Annual General Meeting on September 15. During the meeting, the financial statements for the 2019-2020 fiscal year (June – May) were presented by the auditors, RLB LLP. The financial statements are included immediately following this newsletter for the easy reference of all farmer-members. The financial statements can also be found in the 2020 Annual Report, available online at •


Grain Farmers of Ontario is now accepting applications for the 2021 Grains Innovation Fund. Under this Market Development initiative, funding is available to support development of new and reformulated products and processes which have the potential to expand the market for Ontario barley, corn, oat, soybean, and wheat crops or crop residues. Projects that satisfy the eligibility criteria for the Grains Innovation Fund can receive up to 60 per cent of the cost of the project, up to a maximum of $50,000.

The Grains Innovation Fund was officially launched in 2010 and has supported 51 projects to date with more than $1.3 million in funding. The program is designed to help support companies who are interested in using local ingredients in their products and supporting local farmers. From product development to marketing campaigns to website design, the program is designed to help companies share the story of their use and support of local grain.

Eligible projects must either open new markets for Ontario grains, expand the use and demand for Ontario grains, promote Ontario grains as the best choice, identity preserve varieties for novel uses, and/or increase the value (premiums) for Ontario grains.

Applications for the Grains Innovation Fund must be submitted by October 30, 2020. Information about the fund and the application process is available at or by contacting Nicole Mackellar, Grain Farmers of Ontario’s manager, market development, at or 1-519-767-4124. •


by Philip Shaw
On August 12, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimated a record corn harvest of 15.3 billion bushels coming off this fall based on a record yield projection of 181.8 bushels per acre. This was up 12% from last year. The USDA soybean estimate came in at 4.42 billion bushels with a record national yield of 53.3 bushels per acre. If realized, this year’s crop will top the soybean crop of 2016-2017 of 52 bushels per acre.

These big crop estimates have been overshadowed going into September with very dry weather in the Western corn belt plus a very damaging Derecho on August 10 which is expected to cut these crops back. Despite the Canadian dollar upward movement, Ontario grain prices have responded upwardly on this reality. •


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