Seeding equipment will remain in park for a few more days with the general rainfall in eastern Saskatchewan. Just as things were beginning to show signs of kicking off seeding operations following a generous snowpack this winter, Mother Nature has other plans.
Prior to the onset of this weekend’s rain, St. Gertrude area farmer Neil Gossner was getting set.
“We all know what happened last year,” says Gossner, “So any moisture is welcome. We’ve had a couple of rains in the last few days, so it's been nice. It just looks like it’s going to be a bit of a delayed seeding season right now.”
Moisture in low lying spots was mostly the hold up in what would otherwise have been prime conditions to get started.
“The ground temperature is good and I think it's ready to be seeded. It’s just that in low lying spots, there’s still a lot of water hanging around.”
That’s not the case in all areas of the province. Southwest and south central regions of the province did not receive the snow volumes over the winter and are still experiencing dry conditions. In the south west and south central regions, 34 percent and 20 percent respectively of the crop is already in the ground according to the Ministry of Agriculture’s weekly crop report. Germination could be uneven and spotty unless some of this weekend’s rains extend to those areas. Much of the province is expected to see precipitation, more intense in the eastern regions.
Elsewhere, seven percent of the crop is reported seeded in the southeast, five percent in the northwest, three percent in the east-central and one percent in the northeast. Many fields in the eastern half of the province are still too wet to allow producers to seed, and full-scale seeding is still a week away in some parts of the province.
The most rainfall in the previous week was reported in the Pelly area with 49 mm, along with 46 mm in the southeast Bienfait area.
Topsoil moisture will undoubtedly improve this week. Cropland topsoil moisture is rated as six percent surplus, 58 percent adequate, 26 percent short and 10 percent very short. Hay and pastureland moisture is rated as two percent surplus, 56 percent adequate, 29 percent short and 13 percent very short. This increase in moisture will help pastures grow rapidly.
Gossner says given the markets and indicators, he’s heading into a bit of flax this year and a bit more wheat than normal. More wheat is being utilized for feed with reduced oats and barley production and current global wheat production challenges in Ukraine and regions of Europe should see wheat in relatively high demand.
“I think wheat, especially with a drought last year, seems like a safer bet,” says Gossner. “It seems to do a little bit better in the drier years. I think that’s what’s shifted people to wheat, along with the prices that have hopped up quite a bit.”
The weekend rain should mitigate some of the worries about grass fires as farmers anticipate returning to the fields.