Emerged crops in Saskatchewan are described as Fair to Excellent across all six regions of the province, as of May 29 data. While planting progress overall is pegged at 81% complete, just one percent below the five-year average, challenges lie with variability across the province. The Southeast region is 95% complete overall, well-ahead of the five-year average of 80%, while the northeast is estimated to be 43% complete, behind the five-year average of 80%. These two regions make up the extremes faced in the province.
The northern regions of the province are dealing with excessive moisture, with an estimated 46% of the Northeast facing Surplus topsoil moisture ratings, while this rating drops to 18% in the Northwest. In total, 11% of the province is rated as having Surplus topsoil moisture conditions (roughly 4 million acres based on Statistics Canada seeding intentions).
At the other extreme is the southern regions of the province, with the Southeastern Region's topsoil moisture estimated at 26% Short and 10% Very Short, while the Southwestern Region is estimated at 20% Short. In total, the provincial rating is 12% Short and 2% Very Short, which makes up roughly 5.3 million acres. Many southern crops are in need of moisture to support emergence and crop development.
This growing trend of dryness is also seen in the northern United States, with 100% of North Dakota reported to be facing some degree of drought or dryness, which is pushing south into South Dakota, east into Northwestern Minnesota and west into eastern Montana. The spring wheat market has surely taken note, with the nearby July contract reaching more than 11-month highs on Thursday, while oats futures are also breaking resistance.
The attached chart shows current Crop Condition Index (CCI) for selected crops, based on the initial assessments of emerged crops using the Very Poor, Poor, Fair, Good and Excellent ratings assessed by Saskatchewan Agriculture. The Index utilizes DTN methodology which creates an index by multiplying the Excellent rating by 3, multiplying the Good rating by 2, multiplying the Fair rating by 1, the Poor rating by minus 1 and the Very Poor rating by minus 2.
The chart shows that emerged crops are off to a poorer start than last year given the challenges faced, as indicated by the blue bars (2017) lower than the brown bars (2016). At the same time, 2017 results tend to remain close to their respective five-year averages for the same week (grey bars). Cereals such as spring wheat, oats and barley along with canola and soybeans are calculated higher than their respective five-year average, while durum, flax, peas and lentils are showing a poorer start relative to their respective five-year average. The range of results across the selected crops is seen from 11.8 points lower than average for durum to 9.2 points higher than average for oats.
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