Manitoba corn producers wait for fields to dry out

(Allan Dawson photo)

CNS Canada — Warm, dry weather is on the wish list for Manitoba corn farmers as they wait for fields to dry out so they can begin planting.

The southwest corner of the province appears to be the wettest, while other areas are drying nicely, according to Pam de Rocquigny, general manager of the Manitoba Corn Growers Association.

“For some producers it (planting) isn’t as far away while others are a few weeks away,” she said.

Over in the Steinbach region, in southeastern Manitoba, there is still excess moisture to burn off, according to area farmer Dennis Thiessen, the group’s vice-president.

“We’re anywhere from 10 days to two weeks away from seeding here,” he said in an interview Tuesday.

It would have been closer, he added, except for showers over the weekend that dumped “probably half to three quarters an inch” of rain on the area.

Time is definitely an issue for corn farmers in Manitoba, as most regions see crop insurance cutoffs happening at the beginning of June.

“June planting is too late,” Thiessen said. “My cutoff is around the 20th for grain corn, silage can go later.”

Last year, producers sowed 330,000 acres in Manitoba, the second largest amount ever. De Rocquigny expects that to continue.

“We’re being kind of hesitant not to put a jinx on what acreage could be,” she said.

Thiessen expects acres will stay steady, as long as Mother Nature co-operates.

“It’s totally dependent on the weather, if we get cool damp days it counts for nothing but if you get 20 C with wind, things dry up quick,” he said.

Prices are down about 10 per cent from the year before, he added, due to the record crop.

“We’re getting around $4.40 a bushel here, $4.30 for some guys,” he noted. “That’s doable but if it drops below $4 it’s tough to get a margin.”

— Dave Sims writes for Commodity News Service Canada, a Winnipeg company specializing in grain and commodity market reporting. Follow CNS Canada at @CNSCanada on Twitter.

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