Wet weather delays seeding season for Ontario farmers
The fields at Nandale Farms in Pakenham, ON are generally starting to sprout by early June but this year that's not the case.
Months of wet weather and flooding have delayed the seeding season for farmers across the province.
"It has certainly derailed our planting by a couple weeks," said Alan Nanne of Nandale farms.
According to the Ontario Federation of Agriculture as little as 30% of corn crops in some parts of Ontario have been planted and only 15-20% of soybean crops. Soggy fields and wet weather make it almost impossible for farmers to prepare and plant their fields.
"It's been extremely wet," said Keith Currie, the President of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture. "We are way behind schedule. Eastern Ontario was hit hard."
The Nanne's finished planting their corn and soybean crops just last weekend, a process that is normally completed within the first week of May. In fact, the family had to reseed a couple fields after they flooded and ruined the crops.
"It can really make a big difference, but we won't know the full effect until the Fall," said John Nanne, the owner of Nandale Farms.
John Nanne has lived on the farm since 1962 and said his fields have never been this wet.
"We've never seen this much rain in this much of a time span at this time of year when we are trying to plant our crops," Nanne said. "We had five inches of rain in five days during the first week of May."
The Ontario Federation of Agriculture expects the remaining farmers will be able to plant this week or next week. The fear, Currie said, is that farmers will have to switch crops and that they won't get their crops in at all.
"It was wet and cool for such a long period of time," Currie said. "The ground is colder and so it doesn't try up as much … The conditions just aren't right."
Despite the challenges, the Nanne's said the unpredictable weather is a part of the farming business and serves as a temporary roadblock they just have to deal with.
The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs said the 2017 growing season is off to a slower start for some growers, but planting is now well underway.
"Depending on the crop, farmers may have access to the benefits under Production Insurance when experiencing planting challenges due to wet soil," a ministry spokesperson said in an emailed statement. "Farmers concerned about the impact wet weather conditions will have on their planting or their crops should contact the ministry’s Agriculture Information Contact Centre at 1-877-424-1300."