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Many farmers still waiting for better field conditions

Saskatchewan Agriculture's Crop Report for the period May 3 to 9
seeding with the sun
The Crop Report for the Northwestern Saskatchewan region covers Crop District 9AW – Shellbrook, North Battleford, Big River and Hafford areas; Crop District 9B – Meadow Lake, Turtleford, Pierceland, Maidstone and Lloydminster areas.

NORTHWESTERN SASKATCHEWAN CROP REGION — Seeding is under way throughout the southern half of the region with most of the northern half still waiting for field conditions to improve enough to begin field work. Five per cent of the crop has been seeded, which is behind the five-year average (2017-2021) of 12 per cent. More producers will begin seeding in the next week to ten days.

Small, scattered rainstorms occurred over the week, resulting in some minor precipitation. The most was received in the St. Walburg areas with seven mm, the Meadow Lake, Prince Albert and Spiritwood areas received five mm and several areas in the region reported one to three mm of rainfall.

Recent warm weather has allowed pastures to green up and producers who were struggling with on-farm feed supplies are now moving cattle to pasture while in the north parts of the region, pastures will not be ready for two to three more weeks. Cropland topsoil moisture conditions are rated as four per cent surplus, 62 per cent adequate, 32 per cent short and three per cent very short. Hay and pastureland is rated as two per cent surplus, 60 per cent adequate, 26 per cent short and 12 per cent very short.

Provincial Overview: Slow progress

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.