EAST-CENTRAL SASKATCHEWAN — Seeding is delayed in most parts of the East-Central crop region; snow has been slow to melt and recent large rainstorms have left the fields very wet. Currently, three per cent of the 2022 crop is now in the ground, this is just behind the five-year average (2017-2021) of nine per cent. Seeding may be in full swing by next week.
Many parts of the region received good amounts of rainfall. Amounts varied but the most was received in the Pelly area with 49 mm, the Kelvington area 36 mm, the Esterhazy area 28 mm, the Calder area 18 mm and the Bethune area 13 mm. This rain has further delayed field activities but has allowed for creeks to flow, dugouts to fill and pastures to green up.
Moisture levels have improved slightly with recent heavy rains in much of the region. Cropland moisture levels are rated as seven per cent surplus, 71 per cent adequate, 21 per cent short and one per cent very short. Hay and pastureland are rated as five per cent surplus, 61 per cent adequate, 27 per cent short and seven per cent very short. Soil moisture appears to be more than adequate for seed germination and there should not be any moisture concerns in the far east portion of the region for the time being.
Livestock producers have been busy finishing branding so they can move their cattle to pasture, there is little concern over water availability for livestock due to good runoff and heavy rains. Spraying is being done in the western half of the region and seeders are following close behind, almost all producers are seeding in this part of the region.
Provincial overview: Slower than average
Seeding progress is still slower than average but more producers were able to get out over the past week. Provincially, 14 per cent of crops are now seeded, up from one per cent last week and behind the five-year average (2017-2021) of 23 per cent. Crops that were seeded over the past two weeks should be emerging if moisture conditions are favourable. In areas of the southwest and west-central regions where conditions are very dry, germination could be uneven.
The southwest region has 34 per cent of their crop seeded, followed by 20 per cent in the west-central, seven per cent in the southeast, five per cent in the northwest, three per cent in the east-central and one per cent in the northeast. Many fields in the eastern half of the province are still too wet to allow producers to seed, full-scale seeding is still a week away in some parts of the province.
Various amounts of precipitation were received across the province; this rain is needed badly in some areas that are too dry for proper germination. However, it will likely lead to longer delays in areas of the eastern regions where moisture is already high. The most rain reported was in the Pelly area with 49 mm, followed by 46 mm in the Bienfait area. The Shaunavon area received 26 mm and the Hazenmore area received 18 mm, which is good to see in the southwest since much of the crop is already in the ground and moisture has been limited in the region.
Due to widespread precipitation across the province, topsoil moisture has slightly improved from last week's report. Cropland topsoil moisture is rated as six per cent surplus, 58 per cent adequate, 26 per cent short and 10 per cent very short. Hay and pastureland moisture is rated as two per cent surplus, 56 per cent adequate, 29 per cent short and 13 per cent very short. This increase in moisture will help pastures grow rapidly.
Many livestock producers have reported that the recent rain helped fill their dugouts and they feel confident that, for the time-being, water quality shouldn't be an issue. However, producers in the southwest and west-central have concerns about water levels and are making plans to haul water if conditions do not improve. Heavy rains throughout the summer will be needed to ensure that water availability does not become a widespread concern.
Producers continue working in their fields seeding, harrowing, rock-picking and rolling. When the weather allows, producers are spraying and seeding. Producers are reminded to be safe during their field activities and when transporting equipment across or alongside roadways. When working in extremely dry areas, especially pastures, ensure sparks or any other fire starter is controlled and a water source is available.