Planting in Saskatchewan is still behind schedule due to spring rains

Rain continues to dampen seeding in Saskatchewan.

According to the provincial Department of Agriculture’s weekly crop report, 33 percent of the 2022 crop is in the ground, well below the five-year average of 53 percent for that time of year.

The Agriculture Ministry said sowing is far behind in the province’s eastern areas, with only 17 percent of crops finished in the southeast, 13 percent in the east-central region and eight percent of crops in the northeast.

On the other side of the province, 60 percent of the crop has been sown in the southwest region, the west-central region is 53 percent complete, and the northwest is 35 percent complete.

“Growers with oversaturated fields are starting to harrow heavily to dry out their soils faster,” reads the crop report. “Producers who can, sow as soon as possible between rains to avoid further delays.”

Dallas Jonassen farms near Redvers, a town about 40 kilometers east of Carlyle.

He was struggling to cope with the high humidity and wished he could get out and seed ASAP.

“That totally surprised us here. I wasn’t expecting that at all,” he said.

He worries that late sowing could cause his crop to suffer from frost in the fall.

At today’s cost of everything, that’s not an easy loss to take.

“We spend an enormous amount of money to grow canola … with the fertilizer and the seed. If you rent, with what some of these guys pay for rent, you’re looking at about $60,000 an acre to seed a quarter of canola,” he explained.

“In a year or two you can be broke from good financial standing farming … Some of these young people who are eyeballs in debt … there’s a lot of stress out there. I can survive a year or two, but some of these young people are done if they don’t grow crops.”

So far, 59 percent lentils, 57 percent field peas, 51 percent durum wheat, 29 percent spring wheat and 27 percent barley have been sown nationwide.

Recent rainstorms – one of which reportedly dropped more than 120 millimeters in two days in the Estevan area – have improved topsoil moisture conditions in the province.

The topsoil moisture of the arable land was assessed as too high at 12%, as sufficient at 56%, too low at 20% and as very low at 12%. The moisture content of the topsoil of hay and grassland was assessed as too high at 4 percent, as sufficient at 56 percent, too little at 24 percent and too little at 16 percent.

“Grasslands that received moisture throughout the spring are beginning to recover well from the 2021 drought and their carrying capacity for cattle is increasing,” the report said.

— With files by Dom Lucyk from 980 CJME

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