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  • Writer's pictureBrenda Tjaden

How to Turn a Profit on Wet, Unseeded Fields

Updated: Jun 19

By Brenda Tjaden, Prairie Routes Research

June 18, 2024

Rain during the 2024 planting season will prevent some farmers’ fields from being seeded in time. Rather than missed revenue; however, these fields present a 2-year profit opportunity that could significantly and permanently improve farm finances, and resiliency to future weather risks.

Here’s how it can work:

  1. The On Farm Climate Action Fund (OFCAF) reimburses farmers for the cost of cover crop seed. The first step for a farmer interested in this plan is to contact the local district manager of the Manitoba Association of Watersheds (MAW), to make sure funding is available in the cover cropping tranche of the program.

  2. A cover crop is planted only for the purpose of holding the soil in place to prevent erosion. Any species will do the job, but seed blends that include legumes will give the soil an extra boost, allowing crop input use to be reduced in 2025, improving profitability.

  3. Custom applicators are available for drone seeding cover crops aerially, expenses for which are also covered under OFCAF.

  4. Plan to terminate the cover crop at the ideal time for planting a fall cereal, such as rye or triticale and manage the agronomy to maximize 2025 yield potential. Both of these crops are in strong demand in the U.S. right now, thanks to expanding cover cropping payment programs.

  5. The rye market has grown far beyond traditional milling, distilling and feed use. Spot prices are over $12/bu, and new-crop bids are around $9.50/bu in Manitoba. The market has the potential to trade in the $10-12/bu range throughout 2024/2025 and into the 2025 harvest.

Want more information? Please contact Paige Fehr, Professional Soil Scientist and Lead Consultant for Business Plans for Fields, about our new multi-year budgeting and forecasting framework for mapping out the long-term return on investment (ROI) of transitioning into new farming practices. She can be reached by phone at (705) 305-8027 or email: paigeaken@gmail.com.

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