London weather: As some areas dry out, farmers hope for rain

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Despite a soggy spring, London area farmers and gardeners are looking forward to showers expected later this week.

Southwestern Ontario got soaked in April and May with about 250 mm of rain, well above normal, pushing back planting of Ontario’s two big crops – soybeans and corns.

But rainfall has been below normal in June and July and some areas southwest of London are drying out, says Peter Johnson, an agronomist with

“In the London region we’ve flipped. We have gone from being too wet to too dry. We would really like a bit of rain,” said Johnson,

Peter Kimbell, an Environment Canada meteorologist, says the London area will be warm and humid with good chance of showers this week, as a cool front approaches this weekend

“I’m not expecting a continuation of the dry July, (and) would expect there is a good chance for some relief,” said Kimbell.

Johnson said the corn and soybean crops are in good shape so far but farmers need warm, dry weather this fall to allow crops to make up for the late start in spring.

“The operative word is ‘late’…. If we get a killing frost on Sept 15th there’s going to be a lot of hurt in this province,” he said.

Johnson said harvest of the winter wheat crop is almost done in the London area with yields around 95-100 bushels an acre, well above the long-term average of 85 bushels, but short of last year’s record.

One new threat to the corn crop is western bean cutworm, which burrows into the cobs. It has been slowly spreading across the province in recent years and farmers are using aerial spraying to control the pest.

“You may well see helicopters and planes flying over the corn fields in the next couple of weeks,” he said.

Kimbell said temperatures have been near normal in the London area this summer and that would likely continue, but he was reluctant to predict precipitation in August and September because there are too many variables.

Kimbell, who is based in Ottawa, said the relative dryness in Southwestern Ontario is in stark contrast to eastern Ontario, where the rain has never stopped.

“There’s still water on the fields and the farmers are pulling their hair out.”

London Airport precipitation

(average in brackets)

April 113 mm (

May 133 (89.4 mm)

June 67.6 (87 mm)

July 50 mm (83 mm) 

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