Manitoba Monsoon Continues To Delay Seeding

Federal and provincial officials have started talking about aid under AgriRecovery after another week of heavy rains, hail and winds further delayed seeding.

Both Manitoba Agriculture Minister Stan Struthers and his federal counterpart Gerry Ritz agreed to set up aid under AgriRecovery when they met May 31 in Winnipeg, Struthers said.

Details are yet to be finalized but something similar to last year’s Canada-Manitoba Excess Moisture Assistance Program (CMEMAP) is likely, Struthers said.

“As those sorts of things unfold in the next few days we’ll have a much better picture of what kind of a program we will come forward with. But I think farmers can count on the same kind of approach that we did last year.”

The torrential downpours that dropped five inches of rain onto southwestern Manitoba raised flooding fears and even closed schools.

“Usually we have schools close around here because of snowstorms not because of winds and water,” Sourisbased, Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives (MAFRI) farm production adviser Lionel Kaskiw said during a webinar June 1. “It’s just unprecedented weather that’s creating a lot of havoc for producers in the southwest.”

Only an estimated 44 per cent of Manitoba’s entire crop had been planted as of June 3, said Bruce Burnett, the Canadian Wheat Board’s director of weather and market analysis.

Last year under CMEMAP farmers received $30 an acre, less a deductible of a

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minimum of 25 acres or five per cent of a farmer’s total annual crop acreage, on land that was too wet to seed or if a seeded crop drowned.

Farmers enrolled in crop insurance also received $50 an acre, less a deductible, on acres too wet to seed through Excess Moisture Insurance (EMI).

Many Manitoba farmers helped protect themselves by purchasing additional EMI coverage, Struthers said.

Of the 9,057 farmers with EMI coverage, 4,036 bought up their coverage to $65 an acre in 2011, more than doubling the 1,800 who purchased higher coverage last year, said Manitoba Agricultural Services Corporation spokesman David Koroscil.

Almost 2,900 farmers bought down their EMI deductible to zero this year compared to 1,033 last year, he said.

As of last week MASC had received around 120 reseeding claims, down from around 800 at the same time last year. Last year more crop had been seeded by now but was ruined by excessive rains.

Farmers must file their EMI claims before June 22 to avoid a late filing penalty. MASC will start taking EMI claims around June 15 where it’s obvious fields won’t be dry enough to seed by June 20, Koroscil said.

MASC will insure crops that have been broadcast seeded, but only if the newly emerged crop is equal to the farmer’s crop insurance coverage. However, if such fields fail to meet that standard they are eligible for an EMI payment, Koroscil said.

MASC will not insure a volunteer crop under any circumstances. Still some farmers are considering taking volunteer crops to harvest believing some yield is better than none, Kaskiw said.

MAFRI oilseed specialist Anastasia Kubinec says volunteer canola will only yield about 25 per cent of a normal crop.

“In general, canola on canola is a bad rotation option at the best of times, but canola and then a volunteer crop of canola could spell disaster from a disease perspective for years to come,” she said. “If choosing the volunteer canola crop in 2011, you should really take canola out of that field’s rotation for four or more years to get your disease issues, specifically blackleg, under control.”

Volunteer canola from a hybrid crop will be a mix of the original hybrids, parental lines, and sterile plants that will not produce seed. About 15 per cent of volunteers will not be herbicide tolerant and will die when sprayed.

Since the seed wasn’t treated, a volunteer crop is susceptible to attack from flea beetles and seedling diseases.

Taking a volunteer crop to harvest could be illegal as well. Farmers are advised to check with their seed suppliers. Bayer CropScience has told growers it won’t allow it. Monsanto did allow it last year, provided farmers registered with the company and paid a technology use fee.

Monsanto Canada spokeswoman Trish Jordan said the company will announce this year’s policy after the June 20 crop insurance planting deadline.

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About the author

Reporter

Allan Dawson

Allan Dawson is a reporter with the Manitoba Co-operator based near Miami, Man. Covering agriculture since 1980, Dawson has spent most of his career with the Co-operator except for several years with Farmers’ Independent Weekly and before that a Morden-Winkler area radio station.

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