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Dry ground threatens seeding in Manitoba

Dry ground threatens seeding in Manitoba

Lack of precipitation in the province poses a challenge for farmers

By Kate Ayers
Staff Writer

With little rain in the forecast  for Manitoba, farmers are concerned about the start to the 2018 growing season.  

It has been an exceptionally dry start to the year. In fact, the Winnipeg area has not experienced these conditions in the 140 years since Environment and Climate Change Canada began record keeping, a CTV article said last week. 

Compared to other years, the region has received only 25 per cent of the normal precipitation since January.

“It is drier this spring and this all started with a drier fall season,” Kurt Ginter, a certified crop advisor and president of KR Crop Check Ltd. in Winkler, Man., said to yesterday. 

Indeed, the province received less snow than in other years, too. As a result, soil moisture levels are lower than normal, a Global News article said last week.


Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada photo

Some producers are staying positive despite the lack of precipitation.

Sam Connery, a strawberry farmer in Portage la Prairie, said that the lack of rain has created perfect seeding conditions on her farm.

“I think farmers are eternal optimists,” Connery said to Global News.

“We are always hoping for the best from Mother Nature – we learn to deal with what we get.”

Indeed, #Plant18 operations are moving full steam ahead in the province.

“In our service area, which is predominantly on sandy loam soils, we have also seen more direct seeding this spring,” Ginter said. 

“So far we have seeded everything as per normal this spring.”

However, farmers faced the tough decision as to whether to plant into dry soil or wait for rainfall.

“Talking to the older generation farmers often proves to be quite valuable, as their long running experience can provide valuable insights into what to expect and not expect,” Ginter said.

“We were suggesting a couple weeks ago to still find moisture when seeding and to keep in mind that seeds should be in a similar moisture condition. So that, if in dry ground, emergence will at least be similar when rainfall comes.”

Farmers can access the Canadian Drought Monitor here.

i-Stockr/iStock/Getty Images Plus photo

Updated May 18, 2018