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Heavy rainfall ends last hopes for seeding in SE

Any last hopes of getting additional seed into the ground were lost by farmers, after heavy rainfall on Friday created a "frustrating" situation that will have an effect on other areas of Weyburn and the southeast.

Any last hopes of getting additional seed into the ground were lost by farmers, after heavy rainfall on Friday created a "frustrating" situation that will have an effect on other areas of Weyburn and the southeast.

"Its all over now," said Dale Paslawski. "I couldn't get any crop in at all, and I only sprayed 10 to 20 acres. We have shut down everything, and will be watching our spending. We have canceled our seed, won't get any fertilizer and will only purchase some chemicals for weeds."

"I am not the only one in this boat," added Paslawski. "This will be a loss of money that would have come into town."

"We are weeks away from getting any equipment into the fields, and we are right back at those peak flood conditions that we had at the start of spring," explained Brad Eggum. "There are several roads that are under bad conditions, and it is causing a crisis situation again in the RM."

"It has put us back into waiting mode, and everything has a question period when it comes to next year's season," said Eggum. Noting that he has 10 per cent of his acres seeded, Eggum added that, "this is an unprecedented situation for myself, I have never not been able to get crop into the ground before."

The main focus for farmers is to get through the season without any crops in the ground. "This means there is going to be costs to weed control, and we might have to do it at least twice," said Paslawski. Then in the fall "we might have to cultivate some areas and there will be the cost of fuel, but we will have no income from crops."

"There are lots of farmers who will get jobs off the farm, just to handle their land taxes," added Paslawski. He noted that in 25 years of farmer, this was the first time that he was caught off-guard by seeding difficulties. "It is a farmer's responsibility to feed the world, and we have just been shell-shocked by this relentless rain. And there is nothing that we can do about it."

"There is a low percentage of farmers who have crop insurance, and those with it won't receive enough help to make ends meet," said Wayne Vilcu. "This will affect the community as a whole very deeply. One can't image the snowball effects."

"Last year was wet enough for some farmers that it had reduced the amount of acres seeded, and now with that carry-over it is making this year very tough for farmers," explained Rob Davies, chief executive officer of the Weyburn Inland Terminal. "Farmers are not used to not being able to seed, and it is tough on their business."

"Farmers might pull back their spending and it will slow down a bit, but it will turn around," said Dan East, relationship manager for the Weyburn branch of Farm Credit Canada. "Lots of farmers are coming off three to five good seeding seasons, so will still have sellable crop in the bins."

According to the Ministry of Agriculture's weekly crop report, the overall average of seeding progress in the Weyburn area is 43 per cent. The progress ranged from zero to 50 per cent complete, and the top range of that is very rare.

The majority of the producers in the southeast continue to struggle with wet and flooded conditions. Access to fields is a major issue as roads are washed out, flooded or very soft.

"It will be tough for everyone, especially since poor road conditions are affecting both farmers and the energy sector, and a good chuck of our industry in southeast Saskatchewan comes from the agricultural and oil sectors," added Davies.

Farm yards, corrals, pasture and hay land are flooded, partially flooded and very soft. This has made it very difficult for cattle producers to process and vaccinated their cattle.

"The fields are so saturated, that in the low spots you go right to the frame with the tractor or the sprayer, and then you work to get them out and get tired," explained Paslawski. "There is so much moisture in the ground that it might have an adverse effect in the future. It's difficult to do any drainage without hurting your neighbour."

According to the weekly crop report from the Ministry of Agriculture, topsoil moisture conditions on crop land are rated at 76 per cent surplus and 24 per cent adequate. Hay and pasture land is rated at 67 per cent surplus and 22 per cent adequate.

Crops that have emerged are showing signs of excess moisture stress, and flooding is the cause of most crop damage. It is difficult to assess crop conditions as they are still emerging, but the following crops are behind normal in development: 94 per cent of the spring cereals, 74 per cent of the fall cereals, 92 per cent of the oilseeds and 86 per cent of the pulse crops.

"The crops that we have seeded were on high ground, and the emergence there is reasonable," reported Eggum "In general you also look at the neighbouring crops, and what has been seeded in my area is looking food. But some of that ground has been drowned out."