The last two days of rainfall brought much-needed moisture to newly-seeded crops and pastures, causing district farmers to heave a collective sigh of relief.
But given the dry weather of late, people are still asking, “Is it enough?” Kim Desserre, president of the Rainy River Federation of Agriculture, said that all depends on where you live.
“It depends on where you are because it’s varied,” she said. “I was speaking to someone in Emo and they got an inch and a half.”
But she noted her farm north of Stratton only got around a half-inch, which “is a nice start” but still not enough.
“We also know the ground was getting dry,” she added, not knowing how much rain was needed to bring the water table back up.
Gary Sliworsky, the ag and rural rep with the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs office in Emo, said the answer is a lot.
“We went into the fall dry,” he said. “We had less snow. We started thawing early. We had a lot of cases of no run-off. It was drier a month ahead of normal.
“We need a good soak to help the water table,” he stressed. “About half an inch a day the ground can handle. Three inches [in a day] would be useless—most of it ends running off and not going into the soil.”
The lack of moisture isn’t solely a district problem, Sliworsky noted, saying farmers from Rainy River to Thunder Bay could use a bit more rain to help their newly-seeded crops which are just beginning to sprout.
Still, the past two days of rain should keep this year’s seeding nice and damp for a while. It also will give a much-needed boost to pasture land, which has been stunted severely by the recent bout of dry weather.
“You’ve wanted to get your cattle out there but it’s not growing,” Sliworsky said.
“Everybody’s been sitting there going ‘As soon as we get some rain, [we’ll put cattle out],’” echoed Desserre. “And a nice gentle rain like this really soaks in.”