Seeding behind 5-year average as snowstorms, rainfall cause delays: Sask. crop report

·3 min read
A file photo shows seeding near Hazlet, Sask. Cool temperatures and early spring snowstorms have delayed seeding for many producers across the province this year. (Cory Herperger/CBC - image credit)
A file photo shows seeding near Hazlet, Sask. Cool temperatures and early spring snowstorms have delayed seeding for many producers across the province this year. (Cory Herperger/CBC - image credit)

Saskatchewan's latest crop report says there are concerns about agriculture delays as the province moves into spring weather, following cool temperatures and early spring snowstorms that pushed back seeding for many producers.

The report for April 26 to May 2 says so far, one per cent of the 2022 crop is in the ground. That's behind the five-year average of five per cent.

Meanwhile, very little precipitation was reported in the past week, which should allow fields to dry up enough for seeding to begin in regions that were too wet, the report says.

The Marengo area in the province's west had the most rain during the reporting period, with 10 millimetres. The next most rain was reported in the Marquis, Rockglen and Webb areas, which reported five millimetres of rain.

"Although beneficial for pastures and hay land, farmers are hoping the rain will hold off until seeding can be completed," the report says.

Topsoil moisture "is still less than ideal for proper seed germination and pasture growth," the report says, with 55 per cent of cropland having adequate topsoil moisture. Five per cent is rated as having surplus moisture, 26 per cent is short and 14 per cent is very short.

Topsoil moisture ratings for hay and pasture land are two per cent surplus, 52 per cent adequate, 29 per cent short and 17 per cent very short, the report says.

Meanwhile, spring runoff in Saskatchewan has slightly improved compared to 2021's runoff. That's allowed dugouts and sloughs to fill in many areas, which is "extremely important for livestock producers who have struggled with finding good quality water for their animals," the report says.

"Going into the warm summer months, timely rains will be needed to keep water quality and quantity at acceptable levels," it says.

Government of Saskatchewan
Government of Saskatchewan

The report also notes livestock producers have struggled to ration their available feed supplies through the winter. Forage feed supplies are rated as 35 per cent adequate and 65 per cent inadequate, while feed grain supplies are rated as 55 per cent adequate and 45 per cent inadequate.

"Producers will need a good hay crop this year to replenish their feed supplies and ensure they have more than enough to feed their livestock next winter," said the report.

Pasture conditions at the start of the year are "less than desirable," the report says, after 2021's drought and a lack of adequate rain in the fall for regrowth before winter.

Pasture lands are rated as 12 per cent good, 22 per cent fair, 37 per cent poor and 29 per cent very poor, the report says. No pasture land is currently rated as "excellent," it says.

Meanwhile, warm days with little wind are needed, along with good rains, to improve conditions and allow enough forage growth for the cattle over the summer.

There have also been reports of winterkill on winter wheat, fall rye and other fall-seeded crops, the report says, with the hardest-hit areas in the southwest, where there wasn't enough snow cover to protect crops.

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