Front Page @Instagram @Facebook @Twitter Custom Site Search

Photo Credit: Pending

"Welcome to Canada's Top Comprehensive & Research Intensive School"

University of Guelph
50 Stone Rd E, Guelph, ON, N1G 2W1
Tel: (519) 824-4120

1253 - 8/2/2022 6:39:25 PM  

Drought Will Affect Economy, Not Food Supply

Released For Publication - July 27, 2022

Drought conditions currently affecting many parts of Canada could not have arrived at a worse time for farmers, say two University of Guelph field crop specialists.  

Dr. Joshua Nasielski is a professor in the Department of Plant Agriculture at the Ontario Agricultural College, who holds the MacSon Professorship and researches the agronomy and physiology of field crops like corn, soybeans and other legumes.  

Dr Chris Gillard is also a professor in the Department of Plant Agriculture whose research focuses on dry bean agronomy and pest management.  
Nasielski and Gillard say in southern and western Ontario, drought is having the most significant impact on soybeans, and corn, a crop particularly vulnerable during its flowering period in July. 

Both crops dominate field crop production in Ontario, with corn providing ethanol, starch, oil and livestock feed, and soybeans being used for soy milk, tofu, oils and livestock feed, says Gillard.   

While yields will be reduced this year, it won’t affect national and international food supplies, because Canada’s production amounts to less than five per cent of America’s.  

“In 2012 and in other years, Ontario experienced summer droughts and there was no major disruption to its food supply,” notes Nasielski. “But this drought will not be good for Ontario’s economy.” 

What can farmers do? 

Farmers will likely try to adjust crop management to respond to the weather and minimize profit losses, Nasielski and Gillard say. 

At the same time, long-term solutions are being developed, says Nasielski. His colleagues at U of G have shown diverse crop rotations improve crop resilience to drought and are more profitable than simpler rotations. Newer varieties of corn are being produced that are more drought resilient.  

But as this year’s drought in Ontario persists, farmers will be more reliant on rainfall for the rest of the season, Nasielski and Gillard say. 

“It’s ironic. Ontario’s surrounded by the Great Lakes, which are the largest source of fresh water in the world, but the cost of irrigation is greater than the value of crop yield saved,” Gillard says. “Most farmers are really at the mercy of Mother Nature, when it comes to drought stress.” 


The University of Guelph offers Bachelor’s degrees, Master’s degrees, PhD (Doctorate) degrees, diplomas and certificates, post-graduate diplomas, distance education, and co-op programs.

The University of Guelph main campus covers 330 hectares (817 acres) in the city of Guelph (an hour’s drive West of Toronto), with a mix of classic and modern architecture. It has one of the largest and best residence systems in Canada, with a variety of living options for students and 16 different dining venues. There is excellent public transportation around Guelph; the city also has many bike lanes and bike trails and cycling is supported on campus as well.

In partnership with Humber College, the University of Guelph-Humber offers additional courses through the Humber College campus in Toronto. The Ontario Agriculture College has a satellite campus, Ridgetown in southwestern Ontario offering diploma, certificate and apprenticeship programs.


Front Page | About | Privacy Policy | Social Media | Join | Contact