Crop development in Saskatchewan has been slow this year and differs by area, with some regions too dry and others too wet.
According to the latest provincial crop report from June 21 to 27, early dry conditions in the west and excess moisture in the east are the main factors in the slow development of crops.
“We saw that most of the heavy rain fell in the southeast, parts of the central east, and then of course in the northern regions that received heavy rain and are experiencing some type of minor or severe flooding. And also with that came a lot of hail too. So there’s a little bit of crop damage along with that precipitation. And then, of course, still in the West, there are many, many places that are very dry, especially the Southwest,” said Matt Struthers, a crop extension specialist at the Department of Agriculture.
Although it rained in certain areas of the province last week, more precipitation is still needed in many regions. Some areas experienced flooding and drowned crops due to high volumes of rain in a short period of time. Growers in those regions expect the water to be absorbed quickly and the impact on crops to be minimal.
“Crops don’t like to grow when their feet are wet. When they are standing in water for long periods of time, there is not much growth. It’s quite detrimental to them, so it’s slowing them down a bit. Hopefully things dry out there in the east and crops can pick up where they started and go into July,” Struthers said.
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In the west, where conditions remain dry, the rain was welcome for farmland and pasture, although it delayed the start of the hay season for some growers.
“As we look west, we started out very dry and then the western regions have had some moisture in the last couple of weeks, the crops there are looking much better than before. You know, they’ve recovered quite a bit. That is very promising. I should mention that there are still very dry areas and those regions and those crops are suffering,” she said.
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The Spiritwood area received 86mm, the Broadview area 76mm, the Lipton area 70mm, the Kerrobert area 31mm, and the Cabri area 23mm. Many areas in the Southwest only received one to five mm and crops in those areas are beginning to show signs of severe drought.
“I remember when it used to rain and everyone was raining, but now it seems like there are very small cluster clouds and they are very localized. And that’s why we’re seeing such heavy rain in some areas and other areas are still bone dry,” Struthers said.
Most of the crops in the province are in fair to good condition according to the report. At the provincial level, 76% of autumn cereals, 58% of spring cereals, 46% of oilseed crops and 69% of pulse crops are in their normal state of development for this season. time of the year.
According to the report, most crop damage in the last week was due to heat, dry winds, drought, insects, pocket gophers, floods and hail.
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Struthers added that extreme weather conditions certainly damage crops. It is detrimental in many ways, as extreme hail, storms, tornadoes, etc. can break, destroy or crush the crop.
“Unfortunately, farmers just have to sit back and hope that those storms bypass their fields and that they can get through the season with minimal damage,” Struthers said.
Insects can also play a significant role in crop damage throughout the province. “We see it almost every year with flea beetles depending on the treatments and other treatments that are used on those canola plants,” Struthers said. “Beetles are a pretty big problem this year, certainly for some growers. Grasshoppers were a big increase last year and it looks like they are increasing again this year.”
He added that gophers are also on the move thanks to the dry period of recent years.
With the recent rains it seems that there is worse hay in the west than in the east, as it is still very dry in the west. Growth in the west was delayed early in the season due to drought; the hay crop in many areas has also not reached an acceptable height for mowing.
The rain delayed hay harvesting in the east, although the region’s crops appear to be in much better shape as they had adequate moisture early in the season to allow for recovery and growth.
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