Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Farmers' optimism growing

Late spring and wet fields not a deterrent to province's producers

  • Print
BIZ .  McRae farm near St. Andrews north on Hwy. 8  . Grain and cattle farmer CURTIS MCRAE, who is also a vice-president of the Keystone Agricultural Producers, in his field or yard that still has snow on the ground. For a story on how this year���s spring seeding season will have another  late start to the late arrival of spring, and what Manitoba farmers are planning to plant this year. (More soybeans, dry beans, sunflower seed and flaxseed, about the same amount of canola as last year, and less wheat, oats, barley and corn) Story by Murray McNeill . APRIL 24 2014 / KEN GIGLIOTTI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Enlarge Image

BIZ . McRae farm near St. Andrews north on Hwy. 8 . Grain and cattle farmer CURTIS MCRAE, who is also a vice-president of the Keystone Agricultural Producers, in his field or yard that still has snow on the ground. For a story on how this year���s spring seeding season will have another late start to the late arrival of spring, and what Manitoba farmers are planning to plant this year. (More soybeans, dry beans, sunflower seed and flaxseed, about the same amount of canola as last year, and less wheat, oats, barley and corn) Story by Murray McNeill . APRIL 24 2014 / KEN GIGLIOTTI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Manitoba grain farmers are getting pretty good at rolling with the punches.

You'd think ongoing delays in getting last year's crop to market, coupled with weaker cereal grain prices, soaring fertilizer costs and another late start to the spring seeding season would have most producers feeling pretty down in the dumps these days.

But not so, industry officials say.

"I think people are optimistic," Keystone Agricultural Producers (KAP) president Doug Chorney said Thursday.

"We're definitely not going to have an early (planting) season... but we're by no means at the point where we need to panic. Last year, we seeded everything late and still had a record crop."

Chorney said he also doesn't expect farmers to cut back on their acreage this year just because grain prices aren't where they'd like them to be.

'I think most people are planning to grow a big crop again. I don't think there will be any acreage taken out of production'

"I think most people are planning to grow a big crop again. I don't think there will be any acreage taken out of production."

The interim executive director of the Manitoba Pulse Growers Association is even more upbeat in his assessment of the mood of MPGA members.

"I would think that most of our growers are very optimistic about this year," François Labelle said.

He noted soybean and dry-bean prices held up well over the winter, and soybean growers don't need to add fertilizer to their soil, so rising fertilizer prices isn't an issue for them unless they're planting other crops where fertilizer is needed.

Labelle also noted soybeans usually aren't planted until mid to late May, so there's still plenty of time to get crops in the ground.

He figures all of those factors, coupled with the development of hardier varieties that enable farmers to grow soybeans in more regions of the province, explain why farmers are expected to plant a record number of acres of soybeans this year.

Statistics Canada released its annual report on spring-seeding intentions Thursday, and it shows Manitoba farmers expect to plant 1.3 million acres of soybeans this spring. That's a 23.8 per cent increase from the 1.1 million acres seeded in 2013 and would be the sixth consecutive year of record soybean acreage in Manitoba.

The survey also shows soybeans isn't the only crop enjoying a surge in popularity this year. Sunflower-seed acreage is expected to soar by a whopping 78.6 per cent to 125,000 acres, dry-bean acreage is expected to grow by 50 per cent to 120,000 acres and flaxseed acreage is expected to jump by 41.2 per cent to 120,000 acres.

It looks like there will be little or no change in the number of acres seeded in canola, which is the province's most popular crop, with about 3.2 million acres planned. But the number of acres of wheat -- the second most popular crop -- is expected to decline by 3.6 per cent to 2.8 million from 2013's 2.9 million.

Other crops where fewer acres are likely to be planted are barley, down an expected 3.3 per cent to 435,000 acres; oats, down an anticipated 6.7 per cent to 420,000 acres; and corn for grain, down an expected 21.1 per cent to 300,000 acres.

Curtis McRae, who along with his brother farms about 5,000 acres near St. Andrews, said their planting intentions are pretty much in line with the Statistics Canada survey results.

They'll also be devoting fewer acres to spring wheat and planting just a little less canola than last year. They also grew some winter wheat for the first time in about five years and, for the first time, they'll try their hand at growing sunflowers.

Although they still have snow in some of their fields and flood water rushing over the road between their two farms, McRae said they're not overly concerned. If the weather co-operates, they can get their seeding done in about two weeks. If they get started before mid-May, they should be OK.

This year's seeding forecast is based on the results of a survey of 1,291 Manitoba farmers and 11,500 Canadian farmers between March 24 and March 31. Statistics Canada noted farmers may modify their plans prior to planting time, as some said they were still undecided about their strategies for this year.

The survey results for all of Canada were similar to those for Manitoba. Canadian producers expect to plant a record amount of soybeans, more dry beans and oats, a little less canola and less wheat, barley and corn for grain.

Chorney said with prices down for wheat, feed corn and barley, it's not surprising farmers will be planting less of those crops and more soybeans and dry beans.

"What we're seeing is farmers chasing the best markets and the best prices," he added.

murray.mcneill@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 25, 2014 B5

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Winnipeg Cheapskate: Preparing for Boxing Day

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A baby Red Panda in her area at the Zoo. International Red Panda Day is Saturday September 15th and the Assiniboine Park Zoo will be celebrating in a big way! The Zoo is home to three red pandas - Rufus, Rouge and their cub who was born on June 30 of this year. The female cub has yet to be named and the Assiniboine Park Zoo is asking the community to help. September 14, 2012  BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS
  • A Canada goose flies towards the sun near the Perimeter Highway North and Main St Monday afternoon – See Day 10 for Bryksa’s 30 goose project - May 11, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

What's your take on the Jets so far this season?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google