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‘We needed this rain’: Farmers welcome wet weather as seeding season gets underway


Greener pastures may be on the horizon for Manitoba farmers who say the recent rainfall has put them in good shape for this year’s growing season.

“Doesn’t matter what kind of farm you are. We needed this rain,” said Direct Farm Manitoba president Phil Veldhuis.

Farmers are looking to start this year’s seeding season with a splash.

“What’s going to push us into the seeding timeframe here in the next couple of weeks is if we can get some warmer weather and see some sun out there,” said Jill Verwey, the president of Keystone Agricultural Producers (KAP).

Both Veldhuis and Verwey said the recent drop of wet spring weather is helping make up for a dry winter.

“Takes more than one rain to grow a crop or to keep your pasture green,” Veldhuis said. “But this is a good start.”

According to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, as of March 31, drought conditions are still a concern in southern parts of the province, with some regions flagged as severe and extreme. While Manitoba is still vulnerable to drought this summer, the organization said it has an optimistic outlook.

“We’re seeing some really good improvement in terms of the moisture levels that we’re seeing in the province’s soil, so that’s all really good news,” said agriclimate specialist Trevor Hadwen.

That positivity is easing the concerns of some farmers.

“If now we went into a dry spell, it wouldn’t be a disaster because we do have this re-accumulation of moisture,” Veldhuis said.

But others said they aren’t expecting a favourable forecast for the rest of the season just yet.

“We’re looking at moving into an era of unpredictability with climate change,” said Aurora Farm co-owner Louise May.

May has been at Aurora Farm for 20 years and said she’s gotten used to the unpredictable weather. But the conditions have forced her to come up with creative ways to maintain the farm’s flow.

“Building more drainage pathways, but also collecting more rainwater,” she said. “Looking at how we can contain water here, keep it and also move it out when we need to.”

May also said it’s not just crops that rely on consistent conditions.

“Water is life, right? We know that for everything. And for a farm with animals and crops, nothing would live without it,” she said.

As seeding season gets underway, KAP is reminding drivers to share the road with farmers and their equipment. It’s also important to monitor farm roads before heading out, since the rain may create soft and muddy conditions. Top Stories

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