BRUCE BUMSTEAD/BRANDON SUN
A farmer works in a field southeast of Rivers earlier this week.
What a difference a year makes.
This time last year, some farmers in Westman needed a boat to access their homestead, and the notion of getting on the land to seed was nothing more than a dream. When they finally were able to get on the land to seed — some as late as early June — it was a risk that truly turned farmers into riverboat gamblers.
"After all of the flooding last year, it sure has been good start for this year and hopefully we get some moisture in June to make up for the poor crops we had last year," said Don Yanick, who farms 6,000 acres with his brother-in-law, west of Shoal Lake.
"Last year I only got 50 per cent of my acres in and the rest were just too wet to seed, so it’s a lot better year."
According to the Manitoba Crop Report released on May 14, about 75 per cent of cereal crops were completed in the Hamiota/Shoal Lake areas.
Yanick completed seeded cereals Tuesday and was now going to shift his attention to oilseeds. The early spring has many farmers ahead of schedule. Yanick expects to be done seeding oilseeds in a week — about a week earlier than a typical year.
The process could have been further along, but the area was hit with one to four inches of rain, which kept equipment off the land.
"We got a great start at the end of April, but the first nine days of May we didn’t do much with all of the rain we got," Yanick said. "For a while this spring we were worried about drought ... but there is a lot of moisture out there right now."
The rain may have kept farmers off the fields, but Yanick said his cattle don’t mind.
"The pastures sure are nice and green," Yanick said.
Overall in the Southwest Region, cereal crops are 60 to 75 per cent complete, while oilseeds are 30 per cent complete, according to Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives.
Seeding cereals in the Killarney area is furthest along, 90 per cent complete, with oilseeds 40 to 50 per cent complete.
In the southwest corner of the province near Melita and areas north of Souris to the Trans-Canada, 30 to 40 per cent of cereals are complete, while little to no oilseeds have been seeded yet. South of Souris, cereal crops are 80 per cent complete, while oilseeds are 20 per cent complete.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition May 17, 2012