In the weekly crop report from the provincial Ministry of Agriculture, it was reported seven percent of the crop is now in the ground. This is well behind the five-year average of 27 percent. Much of the progress seen so far has been in the western half of the region.
“It’s that snowfall that we got at the end of April and this early May rain that’s holding the farmers off their fields,” explained Matt Struthers, a crop extensions specialist with the Ministry of Agriculture.
Here in the West Central region, 20 per cent of the crop is in the ground, well ahead of the five-year average (2017-2021) of 13 per cent. Mostly cereals and pulses have been seeded so far with some producers beginning to seed canola. There have been reports of shortages of pulse inoculants across the region which may lead to delayed seeding or poor crop establishment. Soil conditions are extremely dry in the region and producers are concerned their seed could blow away in the wind or not germinate. Rain is needed in the west central region.
Little rain was reported for the region over the past week, the Outlook area received the most with 18 mm reported, followed by the Hanley and Eyebrow areas with 12 mm. Most of the region received one to two mm of rain which will do very little to improve their moisture conditions.
Topsoil moisture conditions are very poor in the region and producers are hoping for widespread rain. Cropland topsoil moisture is rated as 20 per cent adequate, 51 per cent short and 29 per cent very short. Hay and pastureland are rated as 13 per cent adequate, 56 per cent short and 31 per cent very short.
Some pastures in the region are not growing fast enough and some producers predict they won’t be useable until June if rain is not received soon. Dugouts through the region experienced poor recharge and water quality is already a concern to livestock producers.
Producers who can, have started moving their herds to pastures as feed supplies begin to dwindle. Producers are busy spraying pre-seed herbicide and picking rocks to prep fields for seeding.