Canada Markets

Saskatchewan's Largest Crops Indicate Stabilizing Conditions

Cliff Jamieson
By  Cliff Jamieson , Canadian Grains Analyst
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Moisture received over various areas of Saskatchewan have helped stabilize the province's crop conditions for wheat and several other crops, although additional moisture will be needed to fill crops. This picture shows stress a wheat crop faced in the Regina area. (DTN photo by Elaine Shein)

Conditions in Canada's largest grain-producing province have stabilized in recent weeks, according to Saskatchewan Agriculture's weekly crop report, with spotty moisture accumulation improving overall topsoil moisture across the province while easing stress to many crops as indicated by crop condition ratings.

It's still dry in the province and more moisture is needed to help fill crops and relieve stress in many areas still lacking moisture. The provinces' topsoil moisture was reported at 55% short to very short, down from a reported high of 68% seen in the June 29 report. Four of six crop regions saw topsoil moisture conditions improve, with conditions in the southeastern region and northeastern region deteriorating slightly while improvements were seen over the rest of the province. It is important to note that despite improvements, 63% of the northwestern region, 69% of the west-central region and 75% of the southwestern region remain short to very short topsoil moisture. It's also important to note that the rains are spotty and lead to varying conditions within each crop region.

In order to compare the trend in the crop ratings over this crop year, a crop condition index was created for several grains utilizing DTN's format which assigns a weighting of 3 to the Excellent category, a weighting of 2 to the Good category, a weighting of 1 to the Fair category, a weighting of -1 to the Poor category and a weighting of -2 to the Very Poor category.

The formula becomes:

CI = (%EX*3)+(%Good*2)+(%Fair*1)+(%Poor*-1)+(%V.Poor*-2)

Where CI is the Condition Index

For example, Saskatchewan Agriculture's latest crop ratings pegged the lentil crop as being 3% Excellent, 34% Good, 43% Fair, 18% Poor and 2% Very Poor. The index would be calculated as follows:

CI = (3*3)+(34*2)+(43*1)+(18*-1)+(2*-2)

Where CI= 98

The potential range for ratings ranges from -200 to 300, while DTN views the normal range from 0 to 180.

Looking at the largest 10 of the 14 crops rated by Saskatchewan Agriculture, seven crops saw their condition index rebound in the July 13 report from the previous ratings reported on June 29. The three crops which showed further deterioration are oats, barley and pea crops. The CI for oats slipped 3 points to 152, after receiving a CI of 166 on June 1, the initial rating for the crop year. This compares to last year's mid-July CI of 168 and the five-year mid-July rating of 174. The CI for barley slipped 5 points to 120. The barley crop's initial CI was reported at 161, while last year's index and that of the five-year average are calculated at 175. The CI fell from 108 on June 29 to 95 in mid-July, down from a starting index of 164. Last year's mid-July rating was reported at 193, while the five-year average is 197.4.

Saskatchewan's largest crops, wheat and canola, saw the crop condition index increase in the first two weeks of July. The province's wheat index rose 8 points to 124, down from the initial 2015 rating of 160. This remains significantly below the similar period rating in 2014 of 182 and the five-year average of 183.

Canola's condition index is calculated at 104, up from 94 reported on June 29 and above this season's initial index of 97. This is below last year's 151 and the five-year average of 160.

Of the 10 crops studied, the durum crop is faring the poorest according to the CI study. The crop's condition index increased from 45 to 57 in the past two weeks, well below the initial rating of 141. Last year's rating is calculated at 196, while the five-year average is 191.

In upcoming weeks, the trend in this index will be followed and used to explore a forecast for the province's total production.

DTN 360 Poll

This week's poll asks whether you feel provincial government crop ratings are accurately reflecting the conditions on your farm. You can weigh in on our weekly poll found at the lower right of the DTN Home Page.

Cliff Jamieson can be reached at

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