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Cool Soil Temps Delay Canadian Planting

27 April 2011
University of Manitoba

CANADA - A plant science professor with the University of Manitoba reports cool soil conditions are the biggest factor threatening to delay spring planting this year in Manitoba.

The prospects of delayed seeding due to this year's late spring melt, an abundance of water and potential for overland flooding have been cause for concern among the province's farmers.

Gary Martens, a plant science instructor with the University of Manitoba's Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences, estimates it will be another two weeks before producers can get on the land.

Gary Martens, University of Manitoba:

Last year was a relatively early year. We had this short period of relatively dry weather and farmers were on the land at the end of April however that's quite unusual.

Typically we're only in the fields in May and from what I can see right now, except for localized flooding next to rivers, the land is actually fairly free of water and it's drying off quite well.

The trouble is it has been very cold. It seems to me it's been colder than normal. I was just speaking to a farmer this morning and he said he pushed a rod into the ground and there was frost at 18 inches down.

There doesn't seem to be a lot of water standing on the land. It's just quite wet, it's saturated and because it's not warming up the water is not evaporating, it's not infiltrating because there's frost in the ground so we'll be delayed by I'd say another two weeks or so if things are normal before planting is general.

But I don't think that is late. The middle of May is a good time to plant.

Martens expects farmers to focus on wheat and canola this season and because soybeans do well under wet conditions he expects an increase in soybean acres.

He says, ideally farmers will be looking for warm dry weather in the 20's and no rain for the next three weeks to a month and, once seeding is complete, some rain in June.

TheCropSite News Desk

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