Farmers are well into seeding in the east central part of the province earlier than most of them thought they would be. Some local farmers have reported being in the fields a week to ten days as of this publication, while others are nearing the 50 percent mark of completion.
It’s remarkable timing given the snow pack that had to go and a sizable accumulation of snow thanks to a Colorado low just a few weeks ago. However, a stretch of unseasonably warm weather followed the cool spring, and that has put fields in shape earlier than the same time last year.
“Once that temperature turned the corner, and it started getting into the 20s, all of a sudden we’re scrambling a little bit, and there’s a bit of a sense of urgency,” says Neil Gossner who farms southeast of Muenster. “All of our fields look pretty nice. I think that late snow that was just so heavy and damp, I think that ended up making a big difference for most of the moisture and germination conditions.”
The snowpack around St. Gertrude went quickly and left a dry surface with good subsurface moisture for the early seeds such as peas, says Gossner. While a few of the fields dry out a bit more, Gossner has got wheat going into the majority of the land that will bear the seeding equipment. Field peas are next on the cycle
Further down Highway 5, Justin Tremel who farms west of Bruno, says there’s that same sense of surprise with the rapid improvement in conditions. The fast onset of the snowmelt and the warming temperatures have farmers in his area scrambling in the same fashion.
“The fields look pretty good,” says Tremel. “There’s a lot of subsoil moisture. The surface moisture has dried up with the hot windy days, but it’s not like we’re having to seed deep. Conditions are favourable for a good start.”
Tremel has got most of the cereals in and is set to switch seeding efforts to canola as he approaches the half-way mark.
“All in all, I think we are ahead of where we were last year. I don’t think we started seeding canola until around the 21st of May, and we’re looking to be into it by the 17th this year.”
A quick scan of the countryside lets you know that surfaces are dry, and grasslands are at risk from fire. It will soon be time for a shot of rain to keep the crops on track for development.
“I’d gladly take some rain,” said Tremel. “We’re trying to spray ahead of our canola, and rain just to wash the dust off everything and get it all growing would definitely be beneficial.”
The stretch of warm weather, with the occasional chance of overnight rain, is set to stay for the next week or so. From a timing perspective, most farmers in the area will see favourable seeding conditions through that period with the hope of significant rainfall heading into June.