Rain too much of a good thing

After weeks of hoping for rain, area farmers learned last week you have to be careful what you wish for.
Much of the district was pounded by heavy rainfall Friday night, causing drainage ditches to overflow and the La Vallee River to spill its banks over Highway 11/71.
Gary Sliworsky, ag and rural rep with the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs office in Emo, said the rainfall was too much for the ground to absorb.
“Depending on where you were, there was 2.5 to three inches which came at once, which is too much, especially considering the previous rain [that week],” he noted.
Sliworsky said he still hadn’t fully assessed the damage done by Friday’s rainfall but he knew of at least a couple of farmers who had their new seeding washed away last week.
“Anything that’s established, pasture and hayfields, didn’t mind it too much,” he said. “Anything on bare soil, [the rain] was just pounding it.”
Kim Cornell said his family’s farm in Devlin got 5.5 inches of rain last week–the last three inches falling Friday.
Although the standing water had pretty much left the fields by yesterday, he said it didn’t leave without taking some of the topsoil with it.
“We had some erosion in our cultivated land,” he noted. “I don’t think it hurt the crop other than where it got washed [out]. If we get another two inches, then it will hurt the cereal crops.”
Kim Jo Calder reported just under 2.5 inches of rain at the Emo Research Station, which also had some problems with erosion.
“It kind of flooded out some of our trials it ran off so quickly,” she said, noting three plots looked pretty bare after Friday’s rain.
“I’m thinking about replanting but I don’t know if I can retrack that seed,” she added.
Calder hopes to be able to get back in her fields with a cultivator tomorrow–as long as no more rain falls. And she echoed Cornell’s concerns about more rain, saying the soil was completed saturated.
“We have a little creek by our farm and it flooded right to our barnyard,” she said. “If it stays wet, you have the risk of your seed rotting.”
But Sliworsky warned it can’t get scorching hot, either, otherwise more field damage will occur.
“When you get a pound like that, sometimes what you get is a hard crust on top of the soil, which doesn’t help new seeding,” he said.