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Inaugural Year of Yield Enhancement Network a Cross-Border Success

Guelph, ON (November 23, 2021) – The Great Lakes Yield Enhancement Network (YEN), a first of its kind, collaborative effort between Ontario and the Great Lakes Region of the U.S., has completed its pilot project year. Top producers in the Great Lakes Region have been awarded for both overall yield and achieving the highest percentage of potential yield.

These awards were determined after a multitude of field data for farmer participants and agronomists was carefully gathered, reviewed, and analyzed. The full group of farmers, agronomists, and organizers met to contemplate how to narrow the gap between potential yield and actual yield. They will be reviewing their results with the compilation of the study group’s results, measurement by measurement.

Grain Farmers of Ontario, Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA), Michigan Wheat Program, Michigan State University, and the University of Guelph, launched the Great Lakes YEN to help farmers and the industry build insights and knowledge about practices and other factors impacting yield. In its inaugural year, the Great Lakes YEN focused solely on winter wheat, working with 40 farmers to ascertainthe difference in their actual and potential yields.

“Innovation has always been at the heart of the Ontario agriculture sector. Our government recognizes that partnerships propel prosperity and together with our stakeholders we look forward to driving more best practices and embracing new technologies,” said Lisa Thompson, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. “This ground-breaking cross-border collaboration, in the grains and oilseeds sector, will showcase the power of innovative farm practices that will increase yield, resulting in an increase in the amount of food grown per acre. This initiative is vital to the future of the agri-food sector in Ontario as we continue to feed a growing population.” 

The Great Lakes YEN project will promote best practices and unleash the maximum potential of crop yields.

Forty farmers from Michigan and Ontario participated in the pilot project, supported with insight from the already established ADAS YEN team from the United Kingdom which began their program in 2012. The Great Lakes YEN was able to develop the 2021 pilot project on that platform with applicable factors to crop modeling that were ideal for Ontario and the Great Lakes conditions. 

The project collaborators found that several factors were associated with high yielding wheat. These include but are not limited to:

  • Total biomass
  • The number of heads per m2
  • Total nitrogen applied and uptake

“The Great Lakes YEN is a unique collaboration that will propel our understanding of production and benefit farmer-members across the province, and across the border. Collaborations like this will help the grain industry continue to grow and thrive and we are thrilled to be a founding member. We congratulate all pilot project participants and the winners of the yield competition,” said Crosby Devitt, CEO, Grain Farmers of Ontario.

Farmers from Ontario, Michigan, and Ohio provided their field data and highlighted their agronomic practices to help identify links to achieving the highest percent of yield potential and also the highest yield. This year’s highest percentage winner achieved 73.7 per cent of potential while the average from the network was 52.5 per cent of potential.

The top yield producers for the 2021 Great Lakes YEN Pilot Project have been acknowledged. The highest yield for this pilot year of the program was a whopping 152.8 bu/ac. A full list of the award winners can be found here.

“We are so proud to be part of this cutting-edge Great Lakes Yield Enhancement Network pilot program and look forward to our full launch which is already in process this fall,” said Jody Pollok-Newsom, Executive Director, Michigan Wheat Program. “The data gathered and information that will be available and built upon in the years to come will truly make a difference for our growers and their bottom lines.”

The Great Lakes YEN Project is currently accepting applications for the 2022 project year. There are limited spaces in this program, so farmers are urged to sign up now. For more information on the Great Lakes YEN, please visit


Victoria Berry, Manager, Communications, Grain Farmers of Ontario – 226 820-6641;

Marty Vermey, Senior Agronomist, Grain Farmers of Ontario – 519 831-1505;

Joanna Follings, Cereals Specialist, OMAFRA – 519 271-8180;

Jody Pollok-Newsom, Executive Director, Michigan Wheat Program – 1 888-WHEAT01;

Dennis Pennington, MSU Wheat Specialist – 269 832-0497;