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April showers bring more showers

Mike's wet fields in May 2017

Farmers across the province have spent the last few weeks anxiously waiting to get on the fields to begin spring planting. A lucky few were able to get onto the fields early, and they have already planted fields of corn, barley, and oats.

Before farmers can start planting, the soil needs to be warm (12°C or higher) and dry. Ideally, this happens between the end of April and the middle of May. This year, because of extremely wet weather, a lot of farmers have had to put an early stop to their #plant17 plans. After 70mm already, this weekend could bring another 75-100mm of rain across Southern Ontario, and many long term forecasts are calling for more rain next week.

What does all of this mean for farmers? Most will have to sit and wait. It’s very easy to over-compact wet soil by driving equipment on it, and wet soil is also at a much higher risk for soil-borne diseases and funguses that can kill plants before they even start to grow.

The longer it takes for farmers to get back on the dry fields and plant their crops, the shorter the growing season gets. With less time to grow and develop, the crops will yield less grain at harvest time.

What started off as a beautiful, early spring has changed into a rain soaked mess, and #plant 17 is on hold across the province.
Of course, conditions weren’t much better this time last year.