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Crop Land ‘Deteriorating’ in Canada as Excess Rain Hinders Planting

  • Manitoba too wet to plant while Alberta struggles with drought
  • Planting woes come as weather, war threaten global output

Farmers in parts of Canada’s Prairies are struggling to get crops in the ground as heavy rains continue to wallop the eastern region in the latest threat to global grain supplies.

Virtually no seeding has been done in Manitoba as more than 90% of the crop land is suffering from excess moisture, said Trevor Hadwen, agroclimate specialist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. Only 4% of the province’s crops have been sown as of May 17, lagging the five-year average of 50%. Farmers are scrambling to look for dry areas to plant as they swap acres of corn and soybeans for wheat and canola, which are crops that have shorter seasons, according to Manitoba’s agriculture ministry. 

Another storm system is poised to dump more rain on the region this week.

“Conditions are deteriorating,” Hadwen said by phone. “It’s certainly not improving, which is a great concern.”

Meanwhile, drought is expanding in parts of Alberta, a major growing area for spring wheat, barley and durum, Hadwen said. In Saskatchewan, some areas are too wet for seeding while others are too dry for proper germination, according to the province’s agriculture ministry. 

Canada is the top canola exporter and one of the world’s largest wheat exporters. The nation’s planting woes come as weather is also threatening to curb output in the European Union and the US, compounding shrinking production from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, one of the world’s vital breadbaskets.

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