This past fall drought conditions threatened a poor harvest. Now with all the snow in late winter and above-average precipitation this spring, farmers in southeastern Manitoba are beginning to get concerned about getting their seed into the ground in good time, as their animals and lively hood depend on it.
Stefan Signer, a dairy farmer from the Kleefeld area says he has mixed feelings about the spring we've had, and yet he says “We're not having a drought, which is nice. We'd really like to get some corn in the ground, but it's just been too wet all the time. But the grass is growing, and things are greening up so at least, that's nice.”
Signer says, they are not letting the milking cows outside right now because it's too muddy in the pasture, but hopefully, that'll dry up in the next month or so and then they can lounge outside, but obviously, in the winter we keep them in the barn. Keep them warm.”
Meanwhile, Aidan Cure from St. Pierre says, they too have a dairy farm of about 80 cows and farm just over one thousand acres of land.
Cure says the past couple of months have been challenging in general. “The winter wasn't very nice as most people know, between fighting the minus 40 and then the 6 inches of snow and 60km winds and then the cycle would continue again. So, yeah, it's been a long year.” He says, their farm is also working towards getting seed in the ground.
When it comes to high water levels in much of the Red River basin, the Otterburne area is much better than most. “You start heading west and it starts to get a lot worse.”
When it comes to seeding he says, “Right now we are working our way from the fields that are higher up and working our way down to the fields that are closer to the river. Some of our property, you know, there are a few acres here and there that you realize you just won't get to seed this year and it's getting to the point where crops are in need those growing days, and we're just running out of time because at some point, winter is gonna hit us again. It's just a cycle. We seem to be taking a beating here in Manitoba.”
Cure notes that once farmers are able to get out onto their fields, they’d appreciate drivers’ patience coming up behind a large piece of machinery on the road.
“I think that sometimes people forget how blessed we all are. That there's always food in the grocery store. But it’s also gotten expensive just getting around. I mean fuel costs have doubled. Fertilizer costs have almost tripled in the past five years and the price of machinery has gone up about 100% in the past 15 years.
"So as much as you guys are taking a beating in the store, I don't think it was ever easy, but it's a struggle for us as well.”
Cure says, “I guess patience is the biggest thing. So, if you're ok with having that farmer get on the road so he can seed his crop, and you know, if there's mud on the road, please have some patience. That farmer doesn't want mud on the road either, he's just trying to get his crop in.“