Most producers have completed seeding operations, with 99 per cent of the crop seeded to date. Last-minute fields were seeded as they dried up over recent weeks. Overall, seeding went very well provincially despite the delay from a late spring storm, heavy rains and cool weather. Producers were able to get all their fields seeded without major issues or delays.
Over the past week, there were several heavy thunderstorms resulting in large volumes of rain over a short period of time, which caused some flooding and crop damage to occur. Producers were happy to receive a good rain now that all their crop is seeded. This rain will help crops carry through June into the hot days of July. The rain will be a major benefit to any pastures that are struggling due to dry conditions, especially in the southwest and west central regions. Recorded rainfall ranged from 2 mm in the Whitewood area to 54 mm in the Shaunavon area for the southern half of the province. In the north, rainfall ranged from 5 mm in the Hafford area to 24 mm in the Glaslyn area. Unfortunately, in some areas the rain was accompanied by significant amounts of hail. The damage is still being assessed.
Provincially, topsoil moisture conditions declined slightly over the past week. The rain showers, while very heavy, were also very localized. Many areas of the province missed out and the soils continued to dry out with the high day time temperatures and strong winds. Cropland topsoil moisture is rated two per cent surplus, 66 per cent adequate, 28 per cent short and four per cent very short. Hay and pasture land is rated as one per cent surplus, 60 per cent adequate, 33 per cent short and six per cent very short. Rain is needed on hay fields that have struggled over the past two years to help them recover and produce an adequate hay crop.
Provincially, 85 per cent of the fall cereals, 83 per cent of the pulses and 76 per cent of spring cereals and oilseeds are at their normal stages of development for this time of year. This is very promising, as in previous years we have seen quickened crop development due to pressure from extremely dry conditions.
Crop conditions across the province mostly range from fair to excellent. With the adequate moisture early in the spring, crops were able to get off to a good start for most of the province. Recent rains combined with warm temperatures will help crops grow rapidly and maintain their development and condition. Producers in areas that are still very dry are hoping that they receive rain more frequently to ensure their crops develop properly.
Most damage this week was from drought stress in localized areas or fields such as lighter soils or hill tops. Other reported damage was due to flooding, insects (flea beetles, grasshoppers and cutworms), gophers, hail and wind. Now that seeding is complete, producers are focusing their attention to combatting the heavy pest pressure some are experiencing in their fields. The heavy rainfall has resulted in some root rot appearing in lentil fields across the province. Producers are hoping their soils dry out enough to reduce the risk of disease on their crops.
For many producers, this is still a stressful time of year and producers are encouraged to take all safety precautions in all the work they do. The Farm Stress Line can help by providing support for producers toll free at 1-800-667-4442.
(Government of Saskatchewan news release)