Glacier FarmMedia COVID-19 & the Farm

Man. farmers looking at corn, weather still key

The ongoing “fight for acres” in the U.S., attempting to bring in more corn plantings, has also spilled north of the border, with Manitoba corn growers looking to increase their area of the profitable crop as well.

However, corn needs a long growing season, and wet conditions now seen across much of the province could thwart some plans this spring.

“Acres will be up quite a bit, if (producers) can get on the field,” said Theresa Bergsma, executive secretary of the Manitoba Corn Growers Association at Carman. “That’s always the big ‘if,’ especially with the flooding going on.”

With a week or two of warm, sunny weather, the situation could change quickly, said Bergsma. However, she noted that nearby forecasts look cool and wet, leaving too many unknowns right now.

She expected it could be another two or three weeks before there will be a better sense of how planting conditions were looking.

Manitoba farmers planted 185,000 acres of corn for grain in 2010 and harvested a 480,100-tonne crop, according to Statistics Canada data. With current prices more than double the traditional average for corn, Bergsma said intentions point to well over 200,000 corn acres in the province in 2011.

Last year, some producers were putting corn in as early as April 25, but she said that is unlikely this year. However, given some good weather, it doesn’t take long to get a crop in the ground, and Bergsma noted that producers will be aiming to have their corn planted by May 25 in most areas.

From a pricing standpoint, bids in Manitoba typically follow the U.S. futures market fairly closely. However, the strong Canadian dollar is cutting into bids north of the border somewhat, narrowing the basis.

Current bids in Manitoba for grain corn could be found around the $6.30 per bushel area, Bergsma said.

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