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Crop Report: Southwest conditions remain dry

Saskatchewan Agriculture's Crop Report for the period June 7 to 13.
Richardson's ground squirrel
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 — Southwest producers have completed nearly all of their seeding operations. Some producers received rain this past week, but conditions remain extremely dry and producers are noting more severe effects on their hay fields, pastures and crops.

Scattered rain showers dotted their way across the region over the past week, bringing much needed rain. The Shaunavon area received 20 mm, the Leader area 17 mm, the Consul and Gull Lake areas 15 mm and the Limerick and Rockglen areas 11 mm. producers hope more rain is in the forecast.

The rain did little to improve topsoil moisture across the region. Cropland topsoil moisture is rated as 41 per cent adequate, 35 per cent short and 24 per cent very short. Hay and pasture land topsoil moisture is rated as 30 per cent adequate, 45 per cent short, and 24 per cent very short. Some pastures in the region are starting to brown off as they begin to dry down, producers are worried about feed availability for their livestock.

Regionally, 91 per cent of the fall cereals, 67 per cent of the spring cereals, 61 per cent of the oilseed crops and 65 per cent of the pulse crops are at their normal stages of development for this time of year.

Crop conditions range from good to poor in the region, with 42 per cent of the spring wheat, 57 per cent of the durum, 40 per of the canola and 52 per cent of the lentils currently rated in good condition.

Canola emergence in some fields is patchy from poor germination conditions and heavy flea beetle pressure. The majority of crop damage this week was due to wind, dry conditions, flea beetles and gophers.

Provincial Overview

Producers were able to wrap up most of the seeding operations in the province over the past week with 98 per cent of the crop now in the ground. There is still some seeding to be done in the east half of the province, where small portions of fields were too wet to seed. With recent rain in the region, these areas will likely go unseeded this season.

Multiple rain showers and thunderstorms hit the province over the past week. Several areas reported minor to severe flooding. While the rainfall caused damage in some areas, it was still very welcome to those who were desperately in need of moisture. In the west, the rain will hopefully allow crops to recover from the drought conditions, but due to the localized nature of the rainfall, much of the western regions will need more widespread rains soon to keep crops from failing. Some areas received hail over the past week, damage is currently unknown since many crops have not yet emerged, but enough hail was received in some areas to make it appear as if it had snowed.

The most rain was received north of Rosetown, in RM 317, where over 125 mm was recorded Monday night; the area experienced some flooding but most of the water was able to soak in. The Biggar area received 69 mm, the Dinsmore area 65 mm, the Bienfait and Rhein areas 41 mm, the Duck Lake area 34 mm and the Tyner and Bruno areas 25 mm. Many other areas received rain this past week.

With the rainstorms came the wind, which delayed many producers from being able to spray for weeds and insects such as flea beetles, cutworms and grasshoppers.

Provincially, topsoil moisture conditions have improved compared to the previous week. Cropland topsoil moisture is rated seven per cent surplus, 65 per cent adequate, 19 per cent short and nine per cent very short. Hay and pasture land is rated as six per cent surplus, 61 per cent adequate, 24 per cent short and nine per cent very short. For some hay fields in drier areas, the rain might have come too late and the hay crop may not be ready for first cut in a couple of weeks. In areas where moisture was abundant, the crops look very good.

Provincially, 69 per cent of fall cereals, 60 per cent of pulse crops, 50 per cent of spring cereals and 41 per cent of oilseed crops are at their normal stages of development for this time of year.

Crop conditions across the province mostly range from fair to good. With the recent rains, producers are hopeful that conditions will improve, especially in the west. Most damage this week was from drought, flooding, insects (flea beetles, grasshoppers and cutworms), gophers, hail and wind. Producers have wrapped up some of their reseeding operations and are now turning their focus back to spraying to keep pests under control.