For many farmers in the Weyburn area, the time to complete their seeding is quickly approaching, and they are dealing with the fact that moisture issues is keeping them out of the fields and little has been seeded.
"We were optimistic in late May that we would get more seeding completed, but now it is getting closer to the our seeding deadlines, and the forecast is still looking the same," said Marcel van Staveren. He has five per cent seeded of a 13,000-acre land base.
"There are many neighbours around me that have not even started seeding, or are at the same point of completion that I am at," added van Staveren. "We are also unsure to how many acres that were seeded have been lost because of the excess moisture in the field."
Seeding progress in Crop District 2A, the Weyburn area, is at 18 per cent seeded, according to the crop report from the Ministry of Agriculture. The majority of producers in the region continue to struggle with wet and flooded conditions.
"The frustrating thing for farmers is that we have the moisture in the field for crop emergence, fertilizer was bought at reasonable prices and the market prices are very good right now," said van Staveren. "All the elements are there, except for the moisture that is keeping us out of the fields."
The Saskatchewan Crop Insurance Corporation will be extending seeding deadlines for 2011. Customers will have insurance on any crop seeded by June 15, other than barley, oats, mustard, peas and polish canola which can now be seeded and insured up to June 20. Crops exclusive of these deadlines for the entire province are chickpeas, lentils, dry beans and potatoes because they require more days to reach maturity.
Those farmers who are not going to be able to seed before the deadline are looking at alternative solutions to improve the land for next year. "After the seeding deadline, we are going to put some vegetation on the field, most likely legume crops to absorb moisture and keep down weeds, then we will plow it down and terminate it in early September," said van Staveren.
He noted that in the last 20 years of being a farmer his operations was able to have zero disturbance in regard to seeding vegetation crop, "and now we are throwing that out the window. We don't want this one year to affect our crops next year, and are doing what is best for the land."
For those that can seed regular crops, producers are predicting there will be a shift to oats, barley and possibly flax if the fields dry up enough in time to put crop in. Mostly canola and wheat have been seeded so far, and some of the earlier seeded crops are starting to emerge.
If Crop Insurance customers are still unable to seed by the new deadlines, due to excess moisture, they can access their unseeded acreage feature as of June 20. In areas with extreme moisture where land will not be in a condition to seed, producers can registered unseeded acreage claims as of June 15. The unseeded acreage payment provides $70 per acre, less seeding and insurance intensities and a five per cent deductible.
Producers who can't access their land due to excess moisture should contact their local Crop Insurance office for more information. The deadline for customers to register an unseeded acreage claim in June 25.
The Provincial Disaster Assistance Program (PDAP) has received over 102 agriculture claims, with the majority of those from the southeast. This program is designed to help farmers who have had buildings and equipment also damaged from the moisture issues.
Flooding is the cause of most crop damage, with 92 per cent of the spring cereals and oilseeds, 77 per cent of the fall cereals and 84 per cent of the pulse crops rated as behind normal in development. Crop reported have also indicated that it is difficult to assess crop conditions as they are just emerging.