Crop growth this year in Saskatchewan has been slow and varies by region as some areas are too dry and others too wet.
according to Latest Provincial Crop Report For June 21-27, early-season drought conditions in the west and excess moisture in the east are key factors in slow crop growth.
“We saw that most of the heavy rainfall occurred in the southeast, parts of east central and then, of course, the northern regions, which received heavy rainfall, are experiencing some sort of moderate to severe flooding. And with it there was a lot of hail. So along with that rain there is little damage to the crop. And then, of course, still in the west, there are many, many spots that are very dry, especially the southwest,” said Matt Struthers, agriculture ministry crop extension specialist.
Although it rained in some areas across the province last week, many areas still need more rain. Some areas experienced flooding and drowning crops due to high amounts of rain in a short time period. Growers in those areas expect the water to absorb quickly and the impact on crops to be minimal.
“Crops don’t like to grow when their feet are wet. When they’re left standing in water for long periods of time, there isn’t much growth. It’s quite harmful to them, so it’s holding them back a bit. Expectation. That is, things will dry up in the East and crops will be able to start there and reach July,” Struthers said.
In the West, where conditions remain dry, rain was welcomed for crop lands and pastures, although it delayed the start of the harvesting season for some growers.
“When we look to the west, we got very dry and then there’s been some moisture in the western regions over the past few weeks, the crops there look a lot better than they were before. You know, they’ve retreated a lot. So it is very promising. I should mention that there are still very dry areas and those areas and those crops are suffering,” he said.
Spiritwood area received 86 mm, Broadview area 76 mm, Lipton area 70 mm, Kerobert area 31 mm and Cabry area 23 mm. Many areas in the southwest received only 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 it all rained, but now it seems that there are very small cluster clouds and they are very localized. And that is why we are seeing such heavy rainfall in some areas and others. The areas are still bone dry,” Struther said.
According to the report, most of the crops in the state are in good condition. Provincially, 76 percent of fall cereals, 58 percent of spring cereals, 46 percent of oilseeds and 69 percent of pulse crops are in their normal stages of growth for this time of year.
According to the report, the maximum damage to the crop in the last week has been caused by heat, dry winds, drought, insects, gophers, floods and hailstorms.
Struthers said the extreme weather conditions certainly damage crops. It is harmful in many ways as excessive hailstorms, storms, tornadoes, etc. can cause crop failure, destruction or flattening.
“Unfortunately, farmers just have to sit back and hope that their fields have missed those storms and they can get through the season with the least amount of damage,” Struthers said.
Insects can also play a big role in causing crop damage throughout the province. “We see this almost every year with flea beetles, and you know, treatments and other treatments that are used on those canola plants,” Struthers said. “Beetles are a huge issue this year, certainly for some growers. Grasshoppers are a huge spike last year and it looks like they are on the rise again this year.”
He said gophers are also running due to the dry period in the last few years.
Due to recent rains it is looking worse in the west than in the east, as it is still very dry in the west. Development in the West delayed the start of the season due to drought; In many areas the grass crop has not even reached an acceptable height that would allow cutting.
Rain delayed mowing in the east, although crops in the region appear to be in better shape because they had enough moisture early in the season to allow recovery and growth.
The Saskatchewan Water Safety Agency is monitoring the melting snowpack
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