It might be just what the doctor ordered for Prairies farmers this year, an early dose of spring weather.
After a fall harvest season in 2016 which was marred by day after day of bad weather, pushing harvest into November for many, and even then leaving thousands of acres to winter in the field, an early start this year was a near must.
Many farmers face the unenviable task of trying to finish last year’s harvest, and then to get those acres into some shape for planting this year, otherwise long held crop rotations could be lost, or acres simply left to fallow.
While it is just past Easter, meaning just about anything weather wise is possible for another few weeks, so far things are looking good.
For most areas snow cover was not severe, and has already melted, causing little in the way of run-off, a good thing as most areas went into winter with more than sufficient moisture.
That said, an inch of rain on a warm day would not be a bad thing to get the grass growing, and the soil starting to warm.
Conditions in the spring have to include warm soil otherwise seeds will not germinate quickly, and that impacts emergence, and potentially overall crop vitality if the seeds sit in the cold ground too long.
Producers of course want to get their crops in as early as is reasonable. Take in any cropping seminar or check research data, and early seeded crops, generally outperform those seeded later in the planting season.
This year getting some acres in early will be impossible because of the aforementioned crop in the field, but with the snow gone by Easter, the potential to handle this spring’s challenges are tilting a bit in the farmers’ favour.
What to grow when farmers do hit the fields will be a more difficult question.
South America is anticipating a huge soybean crop, so a price pop in that market is unlikely, and that puts pressure on all vegetable oils, including canola, in terms of price increase potential.
Certainly oilseed crops have been the strength in the crop rotation the last few years, with China a steady buyer, but that demand is not assured moving forward.
Cereal grain carryout on a worldwide basis has climbed in each of the last five-years, which is not exactly an indicator of an area where process will rally higher.
At least with the early start we seem to be in for, farmers have as many options as possible, as they try to maximize returns in a year of some market uncertainty.
Calvin Daniels is Editor with Yorkton This Week.