For weeks we have noted the east-west divide in the weather pattern across Saskatchewan. As seen on the attached chart, the government's assessment of the percentage of topsoil moisture that is viewed as adequate (brown line) is close to a flat line, ranging over a narrow 3-point spread from 55% to 58% since the first Crop Report of the season was released on May 2. The most recent rating as of June 6 is estimated at 56% adequate, unchanged from the previous week.
As of June 6, an estimated 91% of the province's total crop has been seeded, down from the five-year average of 97%. This ranges from the three western regions where estimates point to producers close to complete, while estimated progress for the three eastern regions ranges from 77% to 92% complete.
The grey line, or the area of the province rated short to very-short topsoil moisture, and the blue line, or the percentage of the province rated as having surplus topsoil moisture, highlight the challenges faced on the west side of the province and the east side of the province, respectively.
The area on the east side of the province saw surplus topsoil moisture reach a high of 16% on May 30 but fell to 6% as of June 6, as seen on the blue line. The grey line shows the area of the province rated short to very short reaching a low of 27% as of May 23 although has bounced back to 38% as of June 6, the highest reported in five weeks. This increasing dryness is despite precipitation hitting the southwest corner of the province during the last week while the maps show the dry conditions worsening from Maple Creek north, including an expansion into the Northwest Region of the province.
Forecasts point to further precipitation for the eastern Prairies, with today's radar pointing to current shower on the east side of the province, while the chance of showers/rain exists for most days through the middle of next week, bringing spring seeding to an end for some areas.
The west side of the province is forecast to see favorable precipitation during the next week and will be most welcome.
The Canadian Drought Monitor, released today, shows that as of May 31, all drought conditions have been removed during the past week across the eastern Prairies, or a line drawn north and south through the city of Regina on the map. As of May 31, the report estimates that 19% of the Prairies are facing some degree of drought, which includes 44% of the agriculture land on the Prairies. This is down from 29% and 63% reported for the Prairies as of April 30, respectively.
Cliff Jamieson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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