Farmers eager to get in the fields, seeding season close

Weyburn Review
April 30, 2014 01:00 AM

Seeding season is just around the corner for farmers in the southeast corner of the province. Producers are busy monitoring moisture levels, temperature and the frost level in the soil while getting their equipment and supplies ready for planting.

Joe Glab, who farms near Cedoux, is hoping to be in the fields no later than the second week of May. The soil in his fields is still too frozen and wet to be worked.

"We need some heat," said Glab.

Russ Leguee, a farmer from near Weyburn, felt seeding was about two weeks off yet as of Friday, but said weather could change that.

"If it would stay sunny and warm, we could be in the fields in a week," he said. The forecast called for rain through the weekend and into this week as of Friday. "We've got a few days of work ahead of us before we're ready to get going."

Leguee's first goal once he can get in the fields is to spread fertilizer on his winter wheat before he starts seeding. He'll be adding a few crops back into his rotation that he hasn't grown for a couple years this summer. He chose lentils and flax for multiple reasons, including the weather patterns in recent years.

"With less profit potential on other crops, we have to add in others with more potential," said Leguee. Last year's bumper crop dropped the price for many grains significantly this winter, though they have rebounded some in recent weeks.

Marcel Van Staveren, from the Creelman area, said the rebounding wheat prices are due in large part to the unrest in the Ukraine. Ukraine is one of the world's largest wheat exporters and their currency has lost a lot of its value, meaning farmers in that country can't afford the fertilizer, oil and other commodities necessary to grow the acres they already seeded a few weeks ago.

Still, Van Staveren is adjusting what he plans on growing. He isn't adding any new crops, but plans to plant more soybeans than he ever has, double what he grew last year.

"We're excited to go there," he said, and attributed his decision to market and input costs. Soybeans are selling at a higher price right now due to a world market shortage and they also don't require any nitrogen fertilizer, which is at an all-time-high for cost and impossible to find in many places.

Many farmers are considering more acres of peas and lentils because they don't require any nitrogen fertilizer also and are holding relatively steady in the commodities market.

Van Staveren also hasn't been able to get into the field yet, but is excited to start using the new tractors and air drill purchased for the farm. In the meantime, he has been configuring and adapting the new equipment and technology to his operations. He expects to be in the fields soon.

"It looks like a May 5 start date is our best bet," he said, and added that more rain or cool weather could push that back.

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