Too early to write off Manitoba corn acres

High prices have persuaded Manitoba producers to plant more acres to corn this year, according to the latest Statistics Canada report, but wet conditions and flooding may restrict how much in fact goes into the ground.

In its April 26 planting intentions report, StatsCan announced Manitoba producers intended to plant 190,000 acres to corn in 2011, slightly higher than the 185,000 one year ago.

Pam de Rocquigny, corn specialist with Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives at Carman, said even though a number of areas have seen excessive flooding and wet conditions, producers could still meet the StatsCan estimate.

“With the machinery producers have right now, there is the potential to get the crop in the ground in a short amount of time,” de Rocquigny said. “We are only in the second week of May, so there is still time.”

Although de Rocquigny is optimistic the majority of projected corn acres will get planted, she added the weather needs to co-operate, which it is not expected to do during the next week.

“The forecast over the next couple of days is not helping. We need warm and dry conditions to start to dry the land out,” she said.

Weather forecasts call for intermittent shower activity across most southern parts of the province throughout the week.

De Rocquigny said producers have not started to “panic” yet, adding farmers are likely to stick with their cropping intentions until the end of May, and if it is still too wet, they would then look to other options.

“We had the knowledge throughout the winter and coming into this spring that conditions were going to be wet, and I think farmers made their planting predictions based on that,” she said.

Asked if the wet conditions would have an effect on the quality of the corn crop, de Rocquigny said it is still too early to tell, and only once the crop has come out of the ground would there be a better idea of how the wet conditions affected it.

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