Ontarians saw a familiar sight during their morning commute today: planters in fields just about everywhere, laying down seed and churning up dust. This week, field conditions are finally ideal: the ground is warm (above 10oc) and the soil is dry (that’s what causes all of the dust). This past weekend and this morning, in almost any field, tractors could be spotted spreading manure, working ground, or planting seed.
Currently, farmers are planting spring wheat, corn, or even soybeans in some areas (although that usually starts later). As the crop is planted, farmers have a lot of things to monitor: the rate that seeds are planted, the optimal depth to plant the seeds, and how much fertilizer to apply (and where). Most crops will be planted with some fertilizer close to the seed for optimum nutrient uptake. It is imperative that the seeds get the best start possible in order to produce the best crop possible. At this point in the planting season, some farmers will be working 24 hours a day in order to get their crops planted–especially on days like today, with rain set to arrive this afternoon to the majority of Ontario. The most ideal rain that could fall after planting a crop is a nice gentle rain that falls over a few hours. If it rains too hard, too fast crusting can occur on the soil surface that might prevent the crop from being able to emerge.