A$2.6-billion mega-project will soon start in Manitoba — but it won’t likely make many headlines.
It’s called spring seeding and it’s an annual event in Manitoba.
“The more than $2.6 billion we (farmers) invest in fertilizer, fuel and seed dwarfs any other private sector investment in the province,” Keystone Agricultural Producers (KAP) president Dan Mazier told delegates at KAP’s advisory council meeting here April 20. “Politicians and the public get excited over major construction projects inside the City of Winnipeg, but these pale in size to the impact of our annual investment in Manitoba’s economy. It equals three times over the (combined) money put into Winnipeg’s IKEA building, the Canadian Museum of Human Rights, the RBC Convention Centre expansion and the Investors Group Field — and we still don’t have a winning football team.”
Delegates from south and south-central Manitoba reported a little bit of field activity already and predicted a lot more in a week or so if the weather stays dry and warms up. But delegates from western Manitoba complained of excessive moisture.
“In our immediate area it is the wettest it has ever been in my lifetime,” said Walter Finlay who farms near Souris, in KAP’s District 7. “It is a lot worse than ’99, worse than ’11, worse than ’14. It is just damn wet. You could go miles by boat right now. This water maybe in a month will get to the Souris River. So don’t expect the rivers to drop in a hurry.”
It’s excessively wet in parts of the southwest, said KAP vice-president Bill Campbell who farms near Minto, in District 1.
“We have infrastructure problems,” he said. “We have roads that are washed out. We have livestock facilities that are just a mess so I don’t know how they are going to get things straightened around. Seventy-three roads are out in Two Borders (municipality).
“Whitewater Lake has been flowing out on two creeks. The Turtle Mountain is still draining into Whitewater Lake so this lake is an issue.
“We are going to take two weeks to dry out. It’s going to take two weeks to prepare the land. It’s going to take two weeks to sow. So the best-case scenario we’ll be done on the 4th of June. If we have any weather problems of 10 days, we are past the 15th of June.
“There will be unseeded acres in our district this spring from the weather.”
Grain movement was also a topic of discussion and in parts of western Manitoba this crop year, it has been as bad as 2013-14, Mazier said. Most of the problems are on CP Rail lines, he said.
Looking forward to seeding, there could be a lot of soybeans planted.
Manitoba farmers could plant up to two million acres of soybeans this spring, Manitoba Pulse and Soybean Growers Association executive director Francois Labelle, predicted. That would be a half-million acres more than last year’s record 1.5 million acres.
Saskatchewan soybean plantings could hit one million acres, Labelle added.