A cool, late spring has delayed seeding and field work, but the bigger concern in some areas is topsoil moisture.
Saskatchewan Agriculture says topsoil moisture on provincial crop land is rated six per cent surplus, 64 per cent adequate, 20 per cent short and 10 per cent very short.
The driest region is the southeast where cropland topsoil moisture is rated as 47 per cent adequate, 39 per cent short and 14 per cent very short.
“The warmer temperatures and high winds dry out the soil a lot quicker,” says Daphne Cruise, crops extension specialist. “If rain came in the next week or so, I don’t think anyone would mind, even if it delayed seeding for a couple of days.”
Topsoil moisture ratings on cropland are better in the Saskatoon region at 87 per cent adequate and only nine per cent short.
“We’re hearing that most of the province has enough moisture to get the crop in, germinated and out of the soil,” Cruise said.
Memories of a dry growing season last year are still fresh in everyone’s memory. The 2017 crop did better than expected due to subsoil moisture. Those reserves are depleted and this year’s crop will require timely rain during the growing season.
Cruise believes some cattle producers may convert acres from grain production into greenfeed or swath grazing.
“To get as much forage as they can in preparation for next winter because a lot or producers experienced a large decrease in their forage carryover.”
Many livestock producer are using alternative feed sources and feed grains while they wait for pastures to green up.
Check out the April 24-30 region-by-region crop report summary below:
Crop District 1 -Carnduff, Estevan, Redvers, Moosomin and Kipling areas; Crop District 2 Weyburn, Milestone, Moose Jaw, Regina and Qu Appelle areas; Crop District 3ASE Radville and Lake Alma areas
Seeding has begun in a few areas around Frobisher, Moosomin, Grenfell and Weyburn. Most farmers have been able to get into the fields to do some weed control and fertilizer applications.
Rain showers were reported in most areas. The Carnduff area reported 5 mm of rain; the Vibank and Odessa areas 6 mm.
Cropland topsoil moisture is rated as 47 per cent adequate, 39 per cent short and 14 per cent very short. Hay land and pasture topsoil moisture is rated as 34 per cent adequate, 48 per cent short and 18 per cent very short. Even though spring seeding is late, producers have indicated the soil is drying up and a rain would not be unwelcome.
Cool weather has slowed pasture and weed growth in many areas. It is too soon to assess winter wheat survival.
Farmers are busy seeding, working fields, calving, fixing fences and controlling weeds.
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
Some producers around Admiral, Swift Current and Maple Creek have started their seeding operations.
Scattered rain showers were welcome to help with dry conditions and settle the dust. The Big Beaver area reported 24 mm, the Fife Lake area 20 mm, Limerick 7 mm, Mossbank and Vanguard 5 mm.
Cropland topsoil moisture is rated as 68 per cent adequate, 26 per cent short and six per cent very short. Hay land and pasture topsoil moisture is rated as 63 per cent adequate, 32 per cent short and five per cent very short. Although soil moisture conditions are adequate at the moment to get the crop out of the ground, many farmers are still worried about dry weather.
Farmers are busy seeding, working fields, calving and controlling weeds.
Crop Districts 6B Hanley, Outlook, Loreburn, Saskatoon and Arelee areas; Crop District 7A Rosetown, Kindersley, Eston, Major; Crop District 7B – Kerrobert, Macklin, Wilkie and Biggar areas
The majority of producers will start seeding operations within the week. Most fields are dry enough, however farmers are waiting for soil temperatures to improve. Field work such as harrowing, weed control and fertilizer applications are underway. There will be enough soil moisture to get the crop germinated and growing.
Cropland topsoil moisture is rated as four per cent surplus, 87 per cent adequate and nine per cent short. Hay land and pasture topsoil moisture is rated as two per cent surplus, 80 per cent adequate and 18 per cent short.
Farmers are busy preparing for seeding, calving and controlling weeds.
Crop District 5 Melville, Yorkton, Cupar, Kamsack, Foam Lake, Preeceville and Kelvington areas;
Crop District 6A Lumsden, Craik, Watrous and Clavet areas
Producers are slow to get into the field in the east-central region due to cool and wet weather. A few fields have been seeded. General seeding operations are expected to get under way within the week.
Rainfall ranged from nil to 5 mm (Saltcoats). Some roads were damaged or washed out during the fast snow melt a week ago. Fields in crop districts 5A and 5B are significantly more wet than in CD 6A. Producers in 6A would not mind a rain to help replenish moisture that is quickly drying up with the wind.
Cropland topsoil moisture is rated as 10 per cent surplus, 69 per cent adequate, 19 per cent short and two per cent very short. Hay land and pasture topsoil moisture is rated as six per cent surplus, 62 per cent adequate, 27 per cent short and five per cent very short.
Pastures are slow to green up in many areas and will need warm weather to encourage growth. Livestock producers are moving cattle when they are able to do so.
Farmers are busy getting ready for seeding, working fields, controlling weeds and calving.
Crop District 8 Hudson Bay, Tisdale, Melfort, Carrot River, Humboldt, Kinistino, Cudworth and Aberdeen areas; Crop District 9AE Prince Albert, Choiceland and Paddockwood areas
The recent warm and windy days have been welcomed. The region was covered with snow up until one week ago. Although seeding has not started yet, some producers will be seeding within the week.
Rainfall in the region ranged from nil to 15 mm (Bjorkdale). The Arborfield and Melfort areas received 10 mm and the Humboldt area 8 mm.
Cropland topsoil moisture is rated as 24 per cent surplus, 72 per cent adequate and four per cent short. Hay land and pasture topsoil moisture is rated as 17 per cent surplus, 77 per cent adequate and six per cent short. Pastures and hay land are slow to green up due to the cold weather.
Farmers are busy getting seeding equipment ready and calving.
Crop District 9AW Shellbrook, North Battleford, Big River and Hafford areas; Crop District 9B Meadow Lake, Turtleford, Pierceland, Maidstone and Lloydminster areas
Some producers are expected to start seeding by the weekend. Fields that were snow-covered a week ago are now drying up thanks to the recent warm and windy weather. Some producers are applying fertilizer and harrowing. Soil temperatures are still on the cool side.
Cropland topsoil moisture is rated as three per cent surplus, 90 per cent adequate and seven per cent short. Hay land and pasture topsoil moisture is rated as 92 per cent adequate and eight per cent short.
Pastures have been slow to green up and many producers are still feeding in the yard.
Farmers are busy getting seeding equipment ready, fertilizing and calving.