Final seeding push brings small increase in planted acres

·2 min read

Recent strong winds and heavy rains in Manitoba have caused most producers to fall behind schedule in seeding and spraying.

Seeding progress has reached 91 per cent, and any crops being seeded now are mostly going to be used for animal feed.

Strong winds and heavy rains in the Westman region resulted in washed out roads in the rural municipalities of Oakview and Souris-Glenwood. Thunderstorms brought upwards of 100 millimetres of rain in the RM of Prairie View near Binscarth, Foxwarren and Angusville.

Some areas will have to be taken out of production because of overland flooding and ponding issues caused by excessive rainfall which has led to overland flooding and ponding in some areas.

Bill Campbell, president of Keystone Agricultural Producers of Manitoba (KAP), said most soil moisture conditions are full across the province.

"Any more precipitation will certainly add to the challenges of getting equipment on the field, and that may really affect the timing and application of our herbicides."

Farmers are also dealing with flea beetle issues, with some having to reseed because of the pests. It’s another factor, including the excessive heat of the past few days, that has led to less than ideal spraying conditions. Campbell says he’s impressed with the grit, determination and altruism of local producers in the face of such challenges.

"We’ve really struggled, but we’ve really put forth a very valiant effort to get our crop in, with regards to changing some of our plans, being able to cope with the conditions, utilizing extended hours and resources, and neighbours helping out neighbours."

Tim Waldner, a producer with Holmfield Colony Farms Ltd. in Killarney-Turtle Mountain, said seeding is down about five per cent this year.

"We got more rain than we needed. The first four inches were welcome, but so far we’ve gotten 230 mm. That’s nine inches of rain already, which is probably four or five more than we need."

Waldner said the most pressing issue, however, hasn’t been the rainfall. Many producers had to stop spraying and deal with destruction caused by canola beetles.

"The wet weather itself didn’t really affect us in seeding. It was more the wind and fighting canola beetles."

With weather and pest challenges, along with higher seed prices, it would be easy to look at the coming growing season with trepidation, but Waldner said he’s not as far behind as last year.

Dry conditions and record high temperatures meant that even though the seeding got done on time in the spring of 2021, it took a while for the crops to emerge.

All in all, he said he believes there’s reason to be hopeful about the future.

"A farmer should always be optimistic. If not, he shouldn’t be a farmer."

Miranda Leybourne, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Brandon Sun

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