Farmers in the Portage area were concerned a few weeks ago about the need for rain, and the forecast by most meteorologists were looking at this season being yet another one of drought. However, we've received plenty of rain recently. Emeline Farms owner Curtis Sims says it does help in a sandy country such as where he is.

"Rain is always a good thing, it seems, for the most part. It can be overdone, apparently. I've always said, 'I'd rather have mud on my boots than sand in my eyes in this country.' I think we're getting to the mud stage now. We were fortunate enough to get all our crop in before the big rain with a couple little corners we couldn't get. Now it's pushed things back but not badly by the calendar. It's still half reasonable. The fellows are getting a little bit more in here and there. So, they're starting to get going again and ill probably get there; they may miss a few acres here and there, but nothing catastrophic."

Despite all of this, he notes they are watching the forecasts for the next few days. Sims says the rain this week will push things back a little more.

"Spring is an issue now. We put our narrow tires on the sprayer when it dried a little bit, and now -- splash -- they just changed back to the wide tires again; it's so muddy in the field. It's hard to outmaneuver Mother Nature, it seems."

Comparing this season to last year, he stresses you can never know at this point in time. More moisture in the ground is certainly the situation, whereas last year it was less due to extreme heat and dry conditions. Sims says the rain is getting things back to a decent run at the start of the season. 

"Especially if we got a bit more coming up in front of us; that should carry us through," continues Sims. "It can still get pretty dry in the middle of August. We'll be looking for more rain. This current rain won't do for all year, but it'll get the subsoil built up enough so the plants have something to work with now, if it does turn dry for a while."

Sims explains under some circumstances, too much rain will cause the seeds to rot, especially if it's cold. 

"A lot of the expensive seeds, like canola, soybeans, and corn are all treated to help; nothing's Invincible. But if you get some warm weather along with moisture, they should come up fairly well unless they're submerged in water. That's kind of extreme. Submersion isn't great. In some wet conditions, they can get along reasonably well. But they will need dry feet before too long. This year is not too bad. It was a little drier earlier, not swamped; just a nice moisture. Things were coming up pretty good, I think. With this heat and moisture together, crops will really jump up as long as you actually can get in the ground. There may be a few acres in the corners, like we had in a couple of places that you didn't actually get."

He adds that the market side of things always sees a rush to put prices down when they see a good volume of rainfall. 

"It's doing a little bit of that right now. The wheat's holding up, not badly, for some international reasons. The other crops are all slipping because they're all expecting this to be a big crop because it's starting to rain, instead of the big drought. Everybody was talking drought and drought. And at least, in this part of the world, that's all gone now for sure. By August, to get some hot weather, we will need more rain. But it gives us a much better start and it's so important to get the plants out of the ground. If they don't germinate on the front end and they never come up, well then you can't have a decent crop; whereas if you get pretty good germination, you get a good stand. Then you have a good chance at a pretty good crop. That's really where it comes down to."

Sims adds, "One thing I observed over the years, is that it takes quite a long while to build up a drought, get things going, and reacting in the markets, but it doesn't take very long to end one. We just saw that with three inches of rain here a few days ago."