The rain last fall may be saving producers this spring, as seeding season is set to start in a few weeks.
With the Water Security Agency calling for normal or below normal spring run off, producers are relying on new rainfall and, thankfully for some, residual moisture from last fall.
Two local producers, Tyler Fensom and Kevin Stevens, both said they are thankful for the moisture in the latter half of 2018.
“We were lucky, we didn’t think we were lucky last fall when we got the rain, but, we were lucky to get it when we did,” said Fensom. He added that his acres in the Rosetown area are sitting with average or just below average soil moisture levels and said they could definitely use more but are sitting in a good spot compared to other drier areas of the region.
Stevens reiterated that the rain last fall also was a blessing in disguise as his acres in the Harris and Milden area are also sitting around the low-end of normal.
John Ippolito, Crop Extension Specialist, said the soil moisture tests from last October came in at 12 to 18 inches of moist soil, which is considered reasonably average and likely set up many producers in the region to be at about par so far this year for moisture.
Soil moisture south of the Elrose and Eatonia area are expected to be drier than the rest of the region and those producers will be heavily reliant on rainfall or even snowfall in the coming weeks.
Fensom, Stevens and Ippolito all state that seeding is still set to start around the last week of April and in to the first few weeks of May.
“The only way I could see producers seeding early is if we get hot, dry weather with windy conditions. In that scenario, guys might be worried about losing surface moisture below the seeding depths, and we may see them out in the fields sooner rather than later,” said Ippolito.
He added that the next three weeks will be ideal for farmers to see precipitation and without it, they will become very dependant on in-season rainfall to produce high quality and high yield crops.