Heavy weekend rain stalls Canada planting

Mon May 31, 2010 3:30pm EDT
 
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By Rod Nickel

WINNIPEG, Manitoba (Reuters) - As much as 110 mm (4.3 inches) of rain swamped southern Manitoba over the weekend, the most destructive crop weather in the province in years, raising concerns about widespread reseeding near the traditional end of Canada's planting season.

Planting had been more advanced in Manitoba than in wetter parts of the Canadian Prairies, but the rain left many fields under water, raised river levels and flooded many urban homes as drainage systems became overloaded.

Between 5 and 10 percent of Manitoba's cropland was not seeded before the weekend, leaving farmers and others with ruined acres to hope for warm, dry weather so they can plant before June 20 -- the insurance deadline for crops to be seeded.

The wettest areas will need at least seven to 10 days to dry out, said Craig Thomson, vice-president of Manitoba Agricultural Services Corp, the government crop insurance agency.

"If we get more rain, I would say it'll be quite a panic to get reseeded," he said.

Canada is the world's No. 6 wheat producer and third-largest grower of canola/rapeseed.

The rains were Manitoba's most destructive weather event for crops in at least five years, said farmer Ian Wishart.

"We're going to have drown-outs (and) we may have time for some reseeding, but the season is progressing pretty quick and the amount of time for reseeding will be pretty questionable I think," said Wishart, who is president of Manitoba's Keystone Agricultural Producers.   Continued...