Rain could leave 1 million Canada acres unplanted

Thu Jun 3, 2010 2:21pm EDT
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By Rod Nickel

WINNIPEG, Manitoba (Reuters) - Conditions for late spring planting are among the wettest ever on the Canadian Prairies, a key wheat- and canola-growing region that the Canadian Wheat Board said on Thursday might leave a large stretch of acres unplanted.

About 30 percent of soggy northeastern Saskatchewan, or more than 1 million acres designated for wheat, canola and barley, might go unplanted this year, said Wheat Board crop and weather analyst Stuart McMillan, as spring rains and a wet forecast leave farmers hard-pressed to plant before insurance deadlines.

"Some of those guys are certainly not going to be able to get crop in the ground," McMillan said in an interview with Reuters. If the Saskatchewan government offers compensation above current programs for acres that are too wet to seed, the number of unplanted acres could rise even further, he said.

Saskatchewan's government crop insurance agency on Thursday extended seeding deadlines to June 15 or 20, depending on the area and the crop.

"With the new deadlines and good weather, they might get the crop in on time and harvested, but there are a few 'mights' involved," McMillan said.

Planting in Saskatchewan, the country's top crop-producing province, is stuck well behind normal at 59 percent [ID:nN03247286].

Canadian farmers may have to replant 100,000 to 200,000 acres, McMillan said, mostly in Manitoba which had a once-in-50-years rainstorm last weekend.

"My greatest concern is those areas that will not be seeded whatsoever," he said.   Continued...