Wetness to push Man. unseeded acres to record

Unseeded crop acres in Manitoba will likely reach a record high this year due to excessive wetness, a provincial government official told Reuters on Monday.

The province is working to calculate an estimate, and it appears Manitoba will exceed the record of nearly 1.4 million unplanted acres set in 2005, said David Koroscil, manager of insurance projects and sales for Manitoba Agricultural Services Corp. at Portage la Prairie.

Manitoba farmers will likely beat the record handily and leave more than four million acres, or 40 per cent of cropland, unseeded, said Doug Chorney, president of the province’s biggest farm group, Keystone Agricultural Producers.

“I do know many farmers in southwestern Manitoba, big farmers, who haven’t seeded an acre. Nothing’s changed there — they’re still wet.”

Flooding from rivers and at least four major rain storms this spring have swamped large stretches of southern Manitoba, especially the southwest corner, where farmers usually grow a significant amount of wheat and canola.

Manitoba’s fallow acres are likely to mainly trim plantings of later-seeded crops such as canola, edible beans and sunflowers, Chorney said.

Farmers took extreme measures to plant crops over the weekend, including using airplanes to spread seed where tractors can’t drive.

Insurance deadlines in Manitoba for seeding crops fall between June 10 and 20.

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