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Minor delays caused by rain, but seeding is ahead of average

Saskatchewan Agriculture's Crop Report for the period May 3 to 9
rain on grass
The Crop Report for Southwestern Saskatchewan crop region covers Crop District 3ASW – Coronach, Assiniboia and Ogema areas; Crop District 3AN – Gravelbourg, Mossbank, Mortlach and Central Butte areas; Crop District 3B – Kyle, Swift Current , Shaunavon and Ponteix areas; Crop District 4 – Consul, Maple Creek and Leader areas.

SOUTHWESTERN SASKATCHEWAN CROP REGION — Producers across the southwest were able to keep their seeding operations going this past week with only minor delays due to rain. Thirty-four per cent of the 2022 crop is now in the ground, which is just slightly ahead of the five-year average (2017-2021) of 29 per cent. Conditions are incredibly dry and producers are noting the amount of dust created during seeding. Rain is needed to provide adequate moisture for germination and plant establishment.

Much of the region received precipitation this past week from 1.5 mm in the Consul area to 26 mm in the Shaunavon area. The Gull Lake area received 23 mm, the Hazenmore area 18 mm and the Vanguard, Mossbank, and Swift Current areas received 16 mm.

With the recent rainfall in many parts of the region, topsoil ratings slightly improved but are still not at adequate levels to support good germination and pasture growth. Cropland topsoil moisture is rated as 46 per cent adequate, 36 per cent short and 18 per cent very short. Hay and pastureland is rated as 39 per cent adequate, 38 per cent short and 23 per cent very short.

Producers are busy testing water sources on their pastures to ensure the quality is safe for their livestock. They are also moving more cattle to pastures that were the first to green up this spring. Windy conditions have stalled many spraying operations and they are likely going to have to wait till after seeding to take care of the weeds in their fields.

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.