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Slow Spring Melt Gives Winter Cereal Crops a Good Start

By Bruce Cochrane

The executive manager of Winter Cereals Canada reports the late snow melt that's delayed the planting of cereal crops this spring has given cereal crops planted last fall a good start.

As a result of reluctance on the part of some farmers to plant into dry soil, the number of acres seeded to winter cereal crops last fall in Manitoba and Saskatchewan fell by about 15 percent from the record plantings in the fall of 2011.

Jake Davidson, the executive manager of Winter Cereals Canada, says the crops have started to emerge, they're nice and green and judging from what he's seen look to have come through the winter in good shape.

Jake Davidson-Winter Cereals Canada:
The main concern is a winter with no snow cover because the crop goes dormant.

What we're looking for in the spring is regrowth from the crown and if we don't get the snow cover and the ground freezes rock hard and kills off that crown that's a problem.

The other big threat to winter cereals is actually more of a spring threat where we see heating cooling, heating cooling, heating cooling day after day with a lot of moisture so that ice forms on top of the soil.

Things were pretty slow this year in the melt department and we didn't see the big changes in temperature during the time when the temperature was going above and below zero because there wasn't huge jumps between nighttime and daytime.
We all realize it wasn't the most fun spring and that's actually been good for a lot of the winter season crops.

Davidson says the top priority for winter cereal growers right now is to hit the crops with a shot of nitrogen fertilizer.

He says, whether it be a liquid drip or a broadcast application, the trick is to get nitrogen on as early as possible to maximize yields and quality so growers will be looking for the soil to dry off enough to get equipment onto the fields.

Source: Farmscape

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