Ag Weather Forum

Variability in Prairies Moisture

Bryce Anderson
By  Bryce Anderson , DTN Senior Ag Meteorologist
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There's a big swing in Canadian Prairies moisture this season -- from too much north to below-normal south. (AAFC graphic by Nick Scalise)

Springtime precipitation across the Canadian Prairies has had a wide variance. In northern Saskatchewan through northern Alberta, precipitation totals have been 200% of normal or greater -- double the normal amount. Farther south and east, the situation is much different. From eastern Saskatchewan through southern Manitoba, precipitation since April 1 has been no more than normal; and, there are some portions where the precipitation since April 1 has been less than 50% of normal.

This difference is showing up in crop progress reports. Saskatchewan seeding is overall 30% complete. In the southeast, producers have 60% of the crop in the ground. Forty-six percent is seeded in the southwest; 19% in the east-central region; 16% in the west-central region; 8% in the northwest and 4% in the northeast.

In Manitoba, an estimated 50 to 60% of seeding is done. The province's crop progress report for May 15 also notes that "Many areas that had high water tables now have access to more and more fields as top soils are drying down."

Alberta progress in the most recent report, through May 9, was only 13% complete in seeding. Still, the rate is not quite as delayed as 2011 and 2014. The province's report also noted that about 820,000 acres still remain to be harvested from 2016.

The next seven to 10 days look mostly favorable for continued progress. Temperatures have an above- to much-above-normal prospect for the central and western Prairies and near- to above-normal outlook in the eastern Prairies. Precipitation looks to be light overall, generally .50 inch (12 millimeters) or less. This is a promising trend going into the last half of May.

Bryce Anderson can be reached at



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