By Top Crop Manager
The latest batch of crop reports from the Prairie provinces have been published. Rainy conditions continue to cause concerns in Manitoba and, to a lesser extent Saskatchewan, while in the west Alberta continues to struggle with dry conditions. All provinces are behind their respective five-year averages for seeding, although Alberta is drawing closer.
Heavy rains continue to slow seeding efforts in Manitoba. No part of agro-Manitoba has received less than 131 per cent of normal rainfall for the period of April 12 to May 22, while parts of central and eastern Manitoba have more than 260 per cent of normal rain during that time. Only seven areas of Manitoba are considered to have optimal amounts of topsoil moisture.
Provincial seeding process is up to 10 per cent completion, up from four per cent for the week ending May 17. The current five-year average for comparable weeks is 77 per cent. Estimates are that most farms and pastures remain three to four weeks behind normal in terms of seeding and growth. Some farmers have switched a small amount of planned corn or soybean acres onto canola and spring wheat, while planned field pea acres have dropped in some parts of the southwest in favour of more canola.
Some winter cereals in the central region were planted as ground cover, but have survived well and are being kept as commodity crops. Winter cereal crops that were not underwater are growing quickly, while those that were underwater have not fared well and need reseeding. In oilseeds, there are no reports of sunflower acres planted to date, however soybean planting process has made a relative jump in recent days. | READ MORE
Saskatchewan is also dealing with a significant amount of rainfall, including a significant weather system in the latter half of the week. The rain has caused delays in seeding in the eastern half of the province. However, said rain is generally improving topsoil moisture and pasture conditions. Cropland topsoil mostirue is rated as 12 per cent surplus, 56 per cent adequate, 20 per cent short and only 12 per cent very short. Currently producers are reporting 33 per cent seeding, behind the five-year average of 53 per cent. Producers report a need for warmer weather to advance their work.
The most active region for seeding is the southwest region, where 60 per cent of the crop has been seeded. Just over half has been seeded in west central; 35 per cent has been seeded in the northwest, 17 per cent in the southeast, 13 per cent in the east central and eight per cent in the northeast. Lentils, peas and durum are all at more than 50 per cent seeded, while spring wheat and barley are at 29 and 27 per cent, respectively. Barley, peas and lentils have begun sprouting in the southwest and central regions. |READ MORE
In previous weeks, Alberta has struggled with dry conditions compared to its neighbours to the east. Those dry conditions have persisted across the province, with many regions receiving less than one millimetre of rain, particularly in the south region.
However, seeding has progressed at a slightly higher rate than Manitoba and Saskatchewan. The province is closing in on its five-year average of 55 per cent completion, with 49 per cent of all crops seeded as of May 17. Regionally, some regions are ahead of their five-year average (south and central regions), while the north east, north west and peace regions are behind.
Provincially, surface soil moisture is rated as 20 per cent poor, 39 per cent fair, 32 per cent good and eight per cent excellent, with one per cent excessive. In general, there are more areas in the “poor” and “fair” than the five-year average and fewer in the “good” and “excellent” category.