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Seeding plans are being reconsidered by farmers

As more rain was received in the southeast area last week, a few producers reported that there was little chance to continue seeding, and it would be a tough year for farmers.

As more rain was received in the southeast area last week, a few producers reported that there was little chance to continue seeding, and it would be a tough year for farmers. Other farmers were able to get back to seeding for a few days, and are hopeful that warmer weather will come and allow them to finish their remaining acres.

"I think we are done with seeding, and the fields are just too saturated to give us much more into the ground," said Joe Glab. In the 20 years he has been farming, Glab reported that he has never seen it this bad. "We are in dire straits. It is so bad that there are wet spots where you go and the tractor sinks into the ground."

"There is a lot of water in the fields, and there are placed that you have never had problems with before where you are just spinning," said John Van Staveren. "It is just frustrating, especially since time is running out and the forecast is not looking good. This year is looking to be a write-off, and it is time to look at next year's calendar."

Earlier in the spring, before all this moisture, Van Staveren noted that producers were hopeful to have their usual breaks from precipitation and get most of their crops into the ground. "But now it is getting late enough that our decision to stop seeding has been made."

"I live in hopes that the sun will shine and it will dry out," said David Pattyson. He has completed 20 per cent of his fields, and noted that he had chosen to seed higher fields with better drainage first. "Other fields have standing water, or are completely saturated. They are really scary, and you have to watch where you are going."

Pattyson noted he considers himself fortunate, as there are other farmers who have zero acres seeded and are still a ways away from entering the field. "When we get nice days the pressure is on producers to get the seed into the ground, but it is still important for farmers that they don't cut corners when it comes to safety."

"We definitely haven't had enough warm days to get out into the fields to do seeding. There is a lot of water laying in fields, and some fields that are difficult to get into," said Jeff Gaab. "We are in the rain path every time, and it is quite an unusual and extreme condition."

"It is now getting late in the seeding season, and we still hear about more rain in the forecast. Farmers are concerned if they will get more seeding done at all," added Gaab.

Depending on the area, seeding progress ranged from zero to 50 per cent complete, with the average at 24 per cent now seeded. The five-year average for the southeast region is 76 per cent of the crop was seeded.

Crops districts 2B and 3ASE are the most advanced in the region, with 47 and 33 per cent seeded. CDs 1A has nine per cent seeded, CD 1B has six per cent and CD 2A (the Weyburn area) has 19 per cent seeded.

Those producers who are able to get into the fields are having a difficult time getting through the fields without getting stuck. Crop reporters are predicting there will be significant acres not seeded this year.

"My brother has zero seeded and is completely surrounded by water," said Joe Glab. "Farmers are going to need support from the government to keep us sustained, we have the expenses but no positives on income. Crop insurance handles farmers so far, but we are in a tough situation."
With only 100 acres seeded, Glab mostly has durum wheat in the ground. "The emerging crop is getting drowned out and there are a lot that are yellow."

Although some producers were able to start seeding this past week due to a break in the rain, the majority continue to be delayed. Access to fields is a major issue as roads are washed out, flooded or very soft. Crop reporters have indicated that a few farmers are trying alternative seeding methods such as broadcast and harrow.

Some producers have started to think about changing seeding intentions. It is mostly canola and wheat that have been seeded. Earlier seeded crops are starting to emerge.

Gaab has seeded one-third of his acres, and mostly planted durum and a bit of canola. Winter wheat that was planted previously has established nicely. "I think our first crops are emerging, but there are some issues because the water is higher now than when we seeded. There is drowning of crops happening."

"The durum should be all right if there isn't too much flooding," added Gaab.

Pattyson seeded field peas and canola, and is hoping to put cereals into the ground. Last week he reported that he "had some peas that were close to emerging, but I was concentrating on finishing seeding."

For his own operations, Pattyson thought about 10 per cent may be unseeded, but noted that it would be up to "Mother Nature to dictate."

Topsoil moisture conditions on cropland are 71 per cent surplus and 29 per cent adequate. Hay and pasture is rated as 66 per cent surplus and 34 per cent adequate. Pasture conditions are reported as 42 per cent excellent, 40 per cent good, 16 per cent fair and two per cent poor.

Rainfall in the region ranged from nine to 55 mm. The Pangman area reported 47 mm, the Weyburn area 32 mm, and the Radville area 50 mm. Some areas have received 206 mm of precipitation since April 1.