As of May 6, Saskatchewan Agriculture has estimated the province's seeding progress at 13% complete, the fastest pace in three years. This compares to the five-year average of 14%, which begs a further look.
Looking back to readily accessible data for this week to 2007, the pace of planting estimated for this week has only exceeded 10% four times, with the 35% achieved in 2016 an anomaly, 21 points higher than the fastest pace of the other three years. In other words, excluding the 2016 pace, the average of four of the past five years is 8.75%, which is also consistent with the government's 10-year average of 8%.
The largest gains in acreage seeded occurred at the opposite corners of the province over the past week, with the area seeded in the Southeast Region increasing 18 points over this period, to 23% complete, while the Northwest area of the province gained 13 points to 14% complete. In contrast, the West Central Region increased 8 points to 9% complete, the Southwest Region increased 3 points to 14% complete, the Northeast gained 2 points to 3% complete and the East-Central Region gained 1 point to 7% complete.
With weather conditions set to improve, a quick start in both the Southeast and Northwest should allow for progress to maintain at least average pace, while the Southwest is well-behind its average pace due to recent snow, but is an area of the province that can make quick strides, given favorable conditions.
Topsoil moisture ratings declined over the past week, with a shift of 2 points from soils rated as having adequate topsoil moisture to the area viewed as having very-short topsoil moisture. In total, 39% of the province is viewed as short to very-short topsoil moisture (30% short, 9% very short), up from 37% last week and 30% reported this week last crop year. The driest areas are scattered mostly in a triangle drawn from Saskatoon to Moose Jaw to Wynyard, while another area is found between Saskatoon and Prince Albert. The Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Percent of Average Precipitation chart for the April 1 through May 7 period shows the driest area receiving less than 40% of normal precipitation over this period, while most of the province is facing below average precipitation for this period.
DTN's Five-Day Highs Compared to Normal chart shows daytime highs for most of the province to be zero to 3 degrees Celsius above normal through Monday May 13, although the southeast and a strip along the Manitoba border is forecast to see temperatures range from zero to 3 degrees C below average. NOAA precipitation maps point to the potential for up to 1/2 inch over the eastern half of the province during the May 10-11 period.
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Cliff Jamieson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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