Warm and dry conditions across Western Canada has sparked talk of an earlier-than-normal start to spring seeding, but crop specialists say it all depends on what happens next.
“At this point, it’s really too early to say when guys will be out there seeding…,” said Pam de Rocquigny, an agronomist with Manitoba Agriculture.
Weather over the next month will play a key role in determining when seeding starts, she said.
Warm weather is allowing producers to get a head start on getting their equipment ready “so when it is time to seed, they’ll be ready to go,” said de Rocquigny.
If conditions are right, producers in Manitoba are often in the field by late April, and can have a lot seeded before May 1 in some cases, said de Rocquigny.
Many Saskatchewan farmers are gearing up to plant, but “I don’t think we’ll see people starting much earlier than the later part of April,” said Grant McLean of Saskatchewan Agriculture.
“I don’t see (seeding) being a whole lot earlier than normal, but I also don’t see it being a whole lot later,” added Harry Brook, crop specialist with the Alberta Ag Info Centre.
“It will be dependent on soil temperature.”
Temperatures in most of the province were still dipping below zero overnight, he noted.
“If you seed too early, you’ll be hit by a frost event — guaranteed,” said Brook.
If seeding does get underway by mid-April, shifts in acreage intentions are unlikely as producers have already made those decisions months in advance, said the crop specialists. However, market pricing signals could swing a few acres one way or the other, said McLean.