Farmer Dale Paslawski is well underway with his seeding of the 2021 crop, and is happy at the prospects ahead for what could be a boom year in agriculture, if current commodity prices hold up.
Farming north of Weyburn, Paslawski has planted his crop of peas, and as of Monday had started seeding durum, with just over 700 acres seeded so far.
He noted seeding progress varies quite widely, as some neighbours have seeded over 1,000 acres already, and others haven’t begun yet as they deem it too cool to be planting certain crops, particularly canola. For himself, he is aiming to be planting his canola crops by about mid-May, when the risk of frost will be lower and temperatures should be a bit warmer.
“The soil is looking very nice and there’s no water standing anywhere,” said Paslawski. “We do have moisture in the soil, but a couple of windy days would take care of that.”
The rain and snow received in the area a few weeks ago did provide lots of moisture to enable the seeding to go ahead, as he noted his farm received three-tenths of an inch of rain before a couple inches of wet snow fell and melted into the ground.
In spite of this, most farms are still going to need fairly good rains in the weeks to come to produce a good crop, he said, adding the moisture has helped pastures to start greening up right now, which cattle producers are happy for as there was no runoff this spring.
Paslawski is planting a mixture of crops this year, and noted that with canola prices doing very well right now, “we’re going to paint Saskatchewan yellow.”
Most other crop prices are also doing fairly well, including flax, and he added, “If you asked me a year ago if this would be happening, I wouldn’t have believed it.”
He noted some producers are not very happy right now because they sold their 2020 crops last fall instead of holding on until now, when the prices are very high. “At the time, we thought it was a good price,” he added.
This year he is planting yellow peas, durum, canola, and possibly some flax and spring wheat.
Many producers follow a crop rotation schedule to determine what they’re planting, but Paslawski noted that when prices go high as they are for some commodities, the plans can sometimes change.
“It’s quite an exciting spring with the prices, but we’ve got a lot of challenges ahead of us,” he said, pointing out that the weather this spring and summer will largely determine how well this year’s crop will do, in combination with whether the prices hold up until harvest time.
“Conditions are quite ideal right now. We’re going to stay positive pray for good weather,” said Paslawski.
He added that he hopes people will stay safe during seeding in the next month or so, noting that farmers sometimes have to use the highways and grid roads to move large pieces of equipment.