Map: Saskatchewan Seeding Advances as Dryness Concerns Rise




Saskatchewan seeding advanced quickly this past week, with more than one-third of the 2021 crop already in the ground.


The latest weekly crop report on Thursday pegged overall seeding in the province at 38% complete as of Monday, up sharply from 9% a week earlier and 16 points ahead of the five-year average. This year matches the seeding pace set in 2019, which was the quickest since at least 2016. Last year this time, only 18% of the crop had been seeded.


The southwest region is leading the province, with 56% of the crop seeded as of Monday. An estimated 44% of the crops were seeded in the southeast, 35% in the west-central, 34% in the northwest, 24% in the east-central and 22% in the northeast region.


But while seeding is moving well, dryness remains a significant concern. Cropland topsoil moisture (see map below) was rated 0% surplus, 31% adequate, 45% short and 23% very short as of Monday, compared to 1% surplus, 41% adequate, 44% short and 14% very short a week earlier.


The southwest region did see good amounts of precipitation over the past week, with the Admiral area recording about 25mm of rain and snow. The Shaunavon and Rockglen areas were not far behind, recoding about 20mm. However, little to no precipitation was reported in the other regions of the province.


Several rural municipalities across the province have issued fire bans and producers are being reminded to be extremely careful when operating machinery and equipment that has the potential to spark or get very hot.


Southeast:

More producers in the region have gotten into their fields and started seeding this week. 44 per cent of the crop is now seeded, well above the five-year average (2016-2020) of 28 per cent. The main crops being seeded are lentils, peas, barley and durum. Producers are hoping for some rain to alleviate the dry conditions and help with crop establishment.


No precipitation was reported for the region over the past week, increasing the level of concern producers have around the current extreme dry conditions. Livestock water supply shortages for the region are rated as 30 per cent severe, 46 per cent moderate and 24 per cent anticipated. Rain is needed to increase dugout volume and improve water quality.


Pastures are still slow to green up and producers worry that the winter feed supplies will run out before pastures are able to support cattle. Cropland moisture conditions diminished slightly over the past week with zero percent rated at surplus, 21 percent adequate, 56 per cent short and 23 per cent very short.


While most producers are busy in the fields seeding, others have decided to hold off until some rainfall is received.


Southwest:

Producers in the region have made great progress this past week with 56 per cent of the crop now seeded, this is significantly higher than the five-year average (2016-2020) of 29 per cent. Most producers are out in the field and the scattered rain showers in the region over the past week will help with germination.


Most of the southwest region received some good scattered precipitation this week. The most was received in the Admiral area with 25 mm. The Rockglen area received 21 mm, the Shaunavon area received 20 mm and Maple Creek received 16 mm.


Most producers have indicated that livestock water supplies are experiencing moderate shortages and more severe shortages are anticipated without further rainfall. Cropland topsoil moisture is rated as zero per cent surplus, 40 per cent adequate, 40 per cent short and 20 per cent very short.


East-Central:

Seeding is well under way within the region with 24 per cent of the 2021 crop now seeded, well above of the five-year average (2016-2020) of seven per cent. Mostly cereals have been planted along with lentils and field peas; some producers have postponed seeding canola until some rainfall is received.


There was no rainfall reported in the region this week. The lack of moisture has caused some producers to seed deeper to allow the seed adequate moisture to germinate. Livestock water supply shortages for the region have been rated as slightly severe with more shortages anticipated if dry conditions continue.


With no rainfall over the week, topsoil moisture levels have dropped slightly. Cropland topsoil moisture fell and was rated as zero percent surplus, 22 per cent adequate, 45 per cent short and 33 per cent very short. Soils are drying out fast and rainfall is desperately needed for germination and further plant establishment.


West-Central:

Seeding progress saw further progress this week with 35 per cent of the crop now seeded, well above of the five-year average (2016-2020) of 11 per cent. Mainly field peas, lentils, wheat and barley have been seeded so far with a portion of producers holding off on seeding canola until some rainfall is received.


The weather has been cool and windy throughout the week and very little precipitation was reported. The Kindersley area received one mm of rain while no other area reported precipitation. Fire bans have been declared in several rural municipalities of the region and producers are reminded to remain vigilant to power line locations and sparking machinery. Livestock water supply shortages are largely moderate with worsening shortages anticipated if the current dry trend continues.


Cropland topsoil moisture is rated as 13 per cent adequate, 57 per cent short and 30 per cent very short.


Northeast:

Seeding is well under way in the region with 22 per cent of the crop now seeded, which is ahead of the five-year average (2016-2020) of seven per cent. Some producers are close to finishing up seeding while others are just beginning. Like other regions, mostly peas, lentils and cereals have been seeded with a hesitation to seed canola until some rainfall is received.


There was no rain or snow reported for the region this week, causing further deterioration of the soil moisture conditions. Livestock water supplies were rated as being in moderate shortage with severe shortages anticipated if the current dry trend continues.


Pastures have started to green up slowly in the region and cattle producers hope to have cattle out grazing soon. Topsoil moisture conditions this week are rated as two per cent surplus, 65 per cent adequate, 28 per cent short and five per cent very short.


Northwest:

Seeding progress saw further progress this week with 34 per cent of the 2021 crop now in the ground, well above the five-year average (2016-2020) of 10 per cent for this time of year. Low soil temperatures have only allowed for field peas, wheat and barley to be sown. Producers are preparing to seed canola once the temperatures rise to acceptable levels.


No precipitation was received in the region throughout the week. Livestock water supply shortage was rated as slightly moderate with worse shortages and quality anticipated without future rainfall. Fire risk in parts of the region is very high and considerations are being made to lessen risk around seeding operations.


Pastures are very slow to green up and producers are worried about on-farm feed supplies running low before being able to move cattle to pasture. Cropland topsoil moisture conditions are rated as zero per cent surplus, 49 per cent adequate, 35 per cent short and 16 per cent very short.

Cropland topsoil moisture​​​​​​​

Source: DePutter Publishing Ltd.

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