'We're going in considerably dry': Manitoba farmers dealing with dry conditions to start growing season
WINNIPEG -- While many people have been delighted by the recent warm and sunny weather in southern Manitoba, it’s leaving farmers worried for what could come.
Environment and Climate Change Canada says the start of the growing season is dryer than it was last year.
Craig Riese, who is a third-generation farmer, echoes that sentiment, saying things are bone dry.
"We've had droughts I would say the last two summers, so we're going in considerably dry into this spring," he said.
Riese grows corn, soybeans, wheat, canola and oats and he says moisture is crucial once the seeds are in the ground.
But, despite the dry start, he isn't panicking just yet.
"It's too early to write a crop off in March, but there's no doubt we're concerned about the moisture levels that we're bringing in from last year. We're bringing nothing forward."
Natalie Hasell, who is a warning preparedness meteorologist with Environment and Climate Change Canada, says there hasn't been a lot of precipitation since the back half of last year.
"Since August, pretty much it's been dry here. We've had a few precipitation events here and there, but there have been very few," said Hasell.
The hope is rain will come in the spring to offset the dry fields and farms, but Environment Canada said rain predictions are up in the air.
"For southern Manitoba, if you look at the latest seasonal forecast, we don't have a dominant trend. It's equal chance. We could literally go either way."
Riese said farmers are hoping for a low-pressure system to produce some steady, slow, gentle rain for a few days.
Despite the hope, he said he isn't losing sleep over the weather.
"Yeah, it doesn't keep me up at night. I think any farmer will tell you if you can't sleep because of the weather, you'll never sleep. That's part of our industry," said Riese.
Soil and snow conditions are similar in other western provinces as Environment Canada says Saskatchewan is dryer than normal and the National Weather Service in the United States has reported the same conditions in North Dakota.