ST. JEAN BAPTISTE, Man. — It’s a good thing most of Manitoba’s farmland has adequate moisture for the spring because getting rain from the south is doubtful until the U.S. Midwest drought is past.
“We gain a lot of moisture from … down south,” Manitoba Agriculture weather specialist Mike Wroblewski told St. Jean Farm Days.
“If there’s no snow or moisture in the ground … there’s nothing to pick up there.”
Wroblewski said much of Manitoba’s rain comes from moisture that begins in soil from the U.S. Midwest and the Dakotas. It then evaporates, moves north and falls.
Soil in that part of the United States is extremely dry right now. There is some snow cover, but not enough to let soil recover. The situation is much better in Manitoba, where soil moisture in the first dozen inches is close to normal.
Many Manitoba farmers have been worried their soil is too dry for good germination, but October rain came at the ideal time, before freeze-up, and helped make up much of the deficit that formed during the almost rainless period of July and August.
“This is what saved the day,” said Manitoba Agriculture land management specialist Marla Reikman.
“We are not as bad off as I expected.”
However, Wroblewski said problems could arise after spring if nothing recharges the soil.
Moisture reserves are poor deeper down in most areas of Manitoba, so there is little for crops to fall back on.
“If we have another dry year again this year, soil moisture is depleting,” said Wroblewski.