Manitoba taking it day-by-day and field-by-field

Manitoba farmers are finally able to start getting seed in the ground following a string of spring storms that had some areas of the province receiving over 260 per cent of normal annual rainfall. The excess moisture has been the topic of conversation for numerous weeks now with June fast approaching, along with the threat of more moisture on the way for the province, the race is on for many to get what they can in the ground.

The latest crop report shows the province being just 10 per cent complete. The good news is, that is up from just four per cent last week. However, it pales in comparison to the five year average of 77 per cent complete for this time of year.

Not only has the province been pummelled with rain and even snow, the weather following those storms hasn’t been favourable for drying up the excess moisture. Pam de Rocquigny, CEO of the Manitoba Crop Alliance, says they are just now starting to get some warm temperatures, whereas before, the daytime highs would only reach single digits which didn’t do much in the way of drying the ground.

The delays in planting have had some producers consider changing their game-plan when it comes to what they’ll be putting in the ground. As time ticks on, the deadlines for crop insurance quickly approaches. The deadline for grain corn is coming up on May 30, which of course has farmers prioritizing those acres over others, or dialling back how many they will allocate to grain corn. Those who are in risk area one — which is the southernmost part of the province — have up until June 6 for full coverage, says de Rocquigny.

An extension was just recently announced for soybean crops with full coverage deadlines are now June 8 for soybean area one and June 4 in soybean areas two and three. No change for soybean area four. According to the information that has been released, de Rocquigny says she doesn’t anticipate any other crop insurance extensions to be implemented as the new deadline for soybeans has been in the works for a number of years and wasn’t based on this years’ conditions.

“From the information that they’ve been putting out into the public, I don’t anticipate any further changes to seeding deadlines for any of the other crop types. I think MASC (Manitoba Agriculture Services Corporation) has made it very clear that they’re not intending to change any seeding deadlines for this year considering the conditions that farmers are facing,” says de Rocquigny.

As far as unseeded acres go, de Rocquigny says there are options available there as well. MASC offers insurance for excess moisture. She encourages farmers to reach out to their MASC centre and inquire about their specific coverage for those acres that weren’t able to get seed in the ground due to the conditions.

Right now, de Rocquigny says based on a 10 year average, they are still looking at 76 per cent of an average yield for a lot of crops that the Manitoba Crop Alliance represents, citing there is still yield potential out there, especially with the strong commodity prices – now, they just need Mother Nature to play nice for a while to have those yield potentials realized.