Map: Recharge Needed for Dry Prairie Soils

With most of the 2020 Prairie crop now safely tucked away in the bin, it is Saskatchewan producers who will now be crossing their fingers the most for post-harvest moisture.

As can be seen on the map below, a significant portion of the province’s main agricultural region – extending east from Swift Current to the Manitoba border, and north from the US border to Saskatoon - was classified as being ‘very short’ on topsoil moisture as of the end of September. Aside from some relatively smaller pockets farther north and east, topsoil moisture in most of the remaining agriculture area was rated ‘short.’

Much of Western Canada has been trending much drier since the end of July with large areas seeing only 40 to 60% of normal precipitation over the past 90 days. And while Saskatchewan has taken the brunt of that dryness, topsoil moisture is dwindling in parts of Alberta and Manitoba as well. The continuation of below normal precipitation through the winter could leave the Prairies with precious little snowmelt in the spring to bolster topsoil moisture ahead of planting.

The regular weekly Saskatchewan crop report on Thursday noted the need for good fall and winter precipitation to ensure adequate moisture for next year’s crop, hay and pastureland. Overall, cropland topsoil moisture in the province was rated 75% short to very short as of Monday, up from 69% a week earlier and just 4% short (0% very short last year).

In Saskatchewan, things appear to be most dire in the southeast region, where topsoil moisture is currently rated 95% short to very short. Topsoil moisture in the east-central and southwestern regions was rated 80% and 78% short to very short, respectively.

Prairie soil moisture

Source: DePutter Publishing Ltd.

Information contained herein is believed to be accurate but is not guaranteed by the parties providing it. Syngenta, DePutter Publishing Ltd. and their information sources assume no responsibility or liability for any action taken as a result of any information or advice contained in these reports, and any action taken is solely at the liability and responsibility of the user.