Written by Katherine Ludwig

The snow that fell from the spring snowstorm has mostly melted away but the southeastern side of the province is still dealing with piles of snow after getting 40-50 cm in some areas.  

So, what does this mean for the farmers as they anxiously want to begin their seeding processes?  

According to Agrologist Edgar Hammermeister, there are pros and cons to this spring storm but it does depend on which regions farms are located in since environments can differ.  

“Well certainly it’s going to cause a delay of timing but I don’t think any farmer is complaining about the delay. All winter we were still suffering a drought, in lack of moisture coming to us. The best time to get moisture is now in the late part of March or into April,” says Hammermeister.  

Provincial farmers experienced an extremely dry fall in 2021 which did not leave good fermenting soil for this spring.  

Hammermeister says that soil acts like a sponge. When there is an abundance of moisture for the ground to absorb in the fall, it’s able to avoid freezing during the winter season and therefore creates desirable planting grounds once spring arrives. 

Having the moisture from this spring snowstorm has created better planting environments for this season and puts the soil’s pathway for moisture immersion in a good place for the fall.  

However, this does mean there will be a delay in starting the seeding process for many farmers.  

“The farmers are anxious to get going. Some of the literature indicates that every – and this is very broad-brush speaking because there will be regional aspects – every day of delayed seeding in wheat like there can be, I think it’s about .8 per cent yield reduction. So if you’re delayed a seeding from May 1st to May 10th that’s an 8 per cent haircut in yield potential on say a 5-year average,” says Hammermeister.  

Even though farmers may see a reduction in yield potential, Hammermeister says that most farmers are likely still content with the current situation. 

“I think farmers are happy to have the moisture and the delay just because we were so dry ahead of this storm,” he says.

Listen to the full interview between Hammermeister and Discover Moose Jaw's Katherine Ludwig here.