Windsor

Cold, wet spring leaves farmers waiting to plant crops

Another soggy spring is keeping area farmers out of their fields and their tractors in their barns.
Brendan Byrne's fields haven't dried out after weeks of rain in Essex County. (Brendan Byrne)

Another soggy spring is keeping area farmers out of their fields and their tractors in their barns.

This is usually the height of planting season for corn and soybeans.

Heading into the second week of May, many grain farmers have not yet planted a single seed.

Brendan Byrne, who farms just north of Essex and represents Essex County with the Grain Farmers of Ontario, said the cool spring weather in April has kept the fields from drying out and warming the soil.

"If we were looking at percentages, I'd say we'd probably be under five per cent [planted]. There was really only one day, maybe two that seemed like the ground was getting in shape to plant, but the weather wasn't necessarily co-operating at that time," he said.

Not only was April much colder than normal, the area has been hit with one rainy weather system after another.

In the past two weeks alone, 64 millimetres of rain fell at the Windsor airport.

Byrne said the combination of cool air and precipitation makes for poor farming conditions.

Farmers are itching to get going, especially after last year, when some crops weren't planted until July because of a wet spring.

Just about a year ago, Essex County fields looked like this. It's more of the same this spring. (CBC File Photo)

Byrne said it's not overly unusual to not be started at this point, but if the wet weather pattern continues, especially into the third week of May, farmers will be worried.

All that's needed is one sunny, dry week, Byrne said.

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