Canada Markets

Some Dry Areas on the Prairies to Watch

Cliff Jamieson
By  Cliff Jamieson , Canadian Grains Analyst
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Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's Percent of Average Precipitation chart for the Prairie Region for the April 1 to June 8 period shows the driest areas of the Prairies in the central and southern regions of Alberta and northern areas of Saskatchewan. (DTN graphic by Scott R Kemper)

While most of the Prairies have seen beneficial rainfall, DTN Associate Managing Editor Elaine Shein is quick to point out that's not the case at her family's farm located in northwestern Saskatchewan. A significant area of the province could use moisture.

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's Percent of Average Precipitation for the Prairie Region shows the driest areas of the Prairies in the southwestern corner of Alberta and across the northern growing areas of Saskatchewan. This is indicated by the yellow or brown-shaded areas on the attached graphic, which shows the April 1 to June 8 precipitation totaling 40 to 60% of average precipitation (brown shading) and 60 to 85% of average precipitation (yellow) which represent the driest areas of the Prairies.

While the Alberta Crop Report is due to be released Friday, as of June 1 Alberta Agriculture showed the driest area in Alberta, shaded brown and situated north of Calgary, to be much below the 1961-to-2013 normal accumulation for the April 1 to June 1 period. The area shaded yellow was indicated to be below the 1961-to-2013 average for the April 1 to June 1 period. This week's record or near-record temperatures will further stress this area.

As of June 6, Saskatchewan Agriculture rated the entire province's topsoil moisture as being 9% short and 2% very short. While this is far better than the situation reported one year ago, where 42% of the province was rated as short and 15% was rated very short, the current year is still showing the second driest conditions seen when compared to the same-week results for the 2011-to-2015 period.

Over the past week, conditions have deteriorated with a 5% reduction in the adequate rating, while the area of the province rated short increased by 3% and the area rated very short jumped from zero to 2%.

The driest regions of the province are reported in the Northwest Region (21% short, 10% very short) and Northeast Region (14% short, 4% very short). Today's crop report indicates that the northeastern crops are emerging and in relatively good condition, while the northwestern regions are generally good although has spotty germination.

Also, as seen on the attached graphic, the dry area stretches into northwest Manitoba. As of June 1, the latest provincial crop report shows that seven of the 12 points reported have received below-normal moisture in the period since May 1, with the percent of normal precipitation seen over this period at these seven locations averaging 76.6% and as low as 52% at one location which also happened to be the driest location reported for the province.

According to National Weather Service precipitation maps, the Prairies are expected to see precipitation to start during the next two days, with the heaviest accumulations expected in southern Manitoba and in southeast Saskatchewan.


DTN 360 Poll

This week's poll asks if frost was a factor on your farm this spring and if crops were affected. You can respond with your thoughts on this week's poll found at the lower-right side of your DTN Home Page.

Cliff Jamieson can be reached at

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4/18/2019 | 12:18 AM CDT
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