Very superstitious: Seeding and planting traditions

(Kara Oosterhuis/RealAgriculture)

A lot of athletes have superstitions, whether it’s not changing your socks during a tournament, never washing a hat, baby powdering the end of a hockey stick before a face-off, or whatever it may be. Some of us in agriculture can also be superstitious at times, especially when it comes to the weather.

With weather being such an uncontrollable factor, we tend to reach out for any hope we can have — and sometimes that comes in the forms of superstitions. Anything to lure mother nature in the right direction, right?

A Farmer Rapid Fire on RealAg Radio tackles that very question: do you have any growing season superstitions?

Mark Torrey of Woodville, Ont., says he pulls out all the stops when he’s hoping for rain.

“I washed my truck, I took off the Tonneau cover, I washed the sprayer, left a bag of seed out on the lawn, and turned on the sprinkler last night because we are in a dry stretch again,” says Torrey. “I don’t think I’m necessarily superstitious, but you get into farming, and things can get tight. You’ve got to have everything on your side. Anything you can do, to coax a rain in, I’m probably going to do once in awhile. Or vice versa.”

Mark Huston of Thamesville, Ont., says his farm superstitions keep in line to some of the things he did as a baseball player growing up.

“The only thing would be like baseball field, you try not to step on the corn rows. When you cross on to the baseball field, you try not to step on the line,” Huston says.

On the other hand, Randy Court of Plumas, Man., says they tend to stray away from any sort of superstitions on their seed farm.

“We tend to follow gut hunches, and we use a lot of professional people to determine where things are going. We do not follow these things, but a lot of our customers do, though,” Court says. “They come in and say, ‘well, it’s going to rain on the 17th of May because that’s when the hoar frost was six months earlier. There’s all those superstitions out there and I tend to avoid that. I tend to work off professionals and go with the way we think it’s going to go.”

Kristjan Hebert of Moosomin, Sask., says that on their farm, their superstition is around a seeding deadline of May long.

“Part of it is that it just tends to be wet here in the last week of May, and part of it is I can remember being 16-20 years old, going to Kenosee Lake for May long. Every time I set the tent up, it rained for three days straight. So it just seemed like if you’re not done seeding by May long in our country, you could very well be June,” Hebert says. “I’m also a little superstitious when it comes to new moons and full moons. I don’t know, those two moons scare me when it comes to frost, but it tends to change the weather fairly significantly. Whether it’s in my brain or its real is another thing, that’s a good question.”

Todd Hames of Marwayne, Alta., says for him, the superstition goes back a generation.

“My Dad always said don’t start on Friday. So you know you’ve got to go out Thursday, and put the drill in the ground, and do a half a tank or something. The one thing that we certainly heard again this spring was seed in the dust and your bins will bust,” explains Hames.

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