Farmers uncertain about spring planting after March melt, snow
By: Jessica Patterson
| Posted: Thursday, Apr 03, 2014 11:28 am
Farmers in and around Rocky View County say their outlook for spring planting and seeding is uncertain, after an early March melt left some fields waterlogged and late spring snow blankets others.
Despite the recent melt, fifth generation farmer Kenton Ziegler is looking forward to spring planting this year.
“I’m absolutely looking forward to going through another crop cycle,” he said. “You can’t beat the satisfaction of growing a nice crop, seeing it green up, dodging those uncertainties, and getting a crop in the bin.”
Ziegler has been farming for 30 years on his grain farm east of Beiseker, and will be sowing canola, malt barley and hard red wheat.
“I’m planning on staying the course, with my long-term rotation and maybe a little more malt barley,” he said.
“I’ve been farming 30 years and I’ve stuck with my rotation.”
Though, whether he’ll be seeding in late April, or early May depends on the weather. Right now, east of Beiseker, there is still snow on the ground, he said.
Ziegler and other Rocky View farmers don’t know what to expect this spring.
“A lot will depend on how it melts,” Ziegler said. “If the snow melts slowly and gently, it will go down. The subsoil moisture is extremely dry here, so any bit of moisture we can get from snow melt is good.”
In other parts of the county, melting snow may pose a problem for spring planting. For Doug Miller, who farms between Acme and Crossfield, planting may be a little later than normal this year.
“On our farm, we run a very strict crop rotation,” he said. “We work with an agronomist. We don’t change varieties a lot. We’re a simple farm, wheat, barley and canola.”
Miller runs a mixed farm, so when he puts a crop into the ground, he’s just finishing up calving season.
“As far as spring planting goes, whenever winter ends, we hope to seed,” he said.