Spring snowstorm creates good soil for next farming season

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 struggling with piles of snow after receiving 40 to 50 cm in some areas.

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

According to agronomist Edgar Hammermeister, this spring storm has advantages and disadvantages, but it depends on the regions in which the farms are located, as the environments can differ.

“Well, it will definitely cause a delay in the schedule, but I don’t think any farmer is complaining about the delay. All winter we were still suffering from a drought, for lack of humidity which reached us. The best time to get moisture now is in late March or April,” says Hammermeister.

Farmers in the province experienced an extremely dry fall in 2021 that did not leave good fermenting soils for this spring.

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

The moisture from this spring snowstorm has created better planting environments for this season and sets the soil pathway for moisture immersion in a good place for fall.

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

“Farmers are eager to get started. Some of the literature says that every – and this is very general because there will be regional aspects – every day of delayed planting of wheat as there may be, I think it’s yield reduction by about 0.8%. So if you delay a sowing from May 1 to May 10, that’s an 8% reduction in yield potential over, say, an average of 5 years,” says Hammermeister.

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

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

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

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