Warm weekend to help Man. farmers hang onto corn acres

CNS Canada — Corn growers in Manitoba have gotten off to a slower start than normal when it comes to planting due to cold, wet weather this spring.

Farmers in the main corn growing regions of the province have been able to get a fair bit of the crop planted, however, and warm weather expected during the May 24 weekend should help them avoid any acreage losses, said Theresa Bergsma, general manager of the Manitoba Corn Growers Association.

Farmers have until May 30 to get their corn crop in the ground for crop insurance purposes, which for most areas won’t likely be a problem if the weather is warm and dry during the May 24 weekend, Bergsma said.

The most recent Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Development crop report said that as of Tuesday, 80 per cent of the corn was seeded in the east-central area of the province, with seeding also underway in the east and Interlake regions.

“There are some areas that are really, really wet so I don’t know if they’ll get dried out in time,” Bergsma said. “But, if we do get these 26 to 27 C temperatures, that will go a long way to drying out the top area where they need to get on to plant.”

HOW’S SEEDING COMING? We’re looking for photos of your seeding work this spring by email at [email protected].

Manitoba corn acreage for 2014-15 is expected to be closer to the 300,000-acre mark, Bergsma said, down from 380,000 last year. The main reason for the drop is weaker prices, not the late spring, she added.

Corn crops that are planted already and are to be planted over the weekend will get off to a good start if the heat comes, as it will help them emerge amid good soil moisture conditions.

But if the weather isn’t as nice as forecasts predict, producers may run into trouble and could start to become worried about missing crop insurance deadlines.

If that were to happen, they would likely switch their corn acres to crops that have later crop insurance dates, such as sunflowers, edible beans and some canola varieties, Bergsma said.

A lack of warm weather throughout the summer growing season would also result in later harvest, making the crop more susceptible to frost damage in the fall. Thus farmers hope to see some warmer temperatures this summer.

“Last year we had a similar situation, late going in the ground,” said Bergsma. “But, if you get the right amount of heat it can catch right up.”

— Terryn Shiells writes for Commodity News Service Canada, a Winnipeg company specializing in grain and commodity market reporting.



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