Saskatchewan's East-West Gap in Planting Widens
As of May 16, Saskatchewan Agriculture estimates 33% of the province's crop has been seeded, which compares to the 74% seeded as of this week in 2021 and the five-year (2017-21) average of 53%, while the slowest pace seen since 2017.
While the three western regions of the province remain at-or-ahead of their respective average pace, the three eastern regions are falling further behind their average pace due to cool, wet conditions.
The Southwest Region is 60% complete, up 26 percentage points over the week while equal to the region's five-year average. The West-Central Region is 53% complete, up 33 percentage points over the week and ahead of its 42% five-year average. The Northwest Region is 35% complete, up 30 percentage points over the week and equal to the region's five-year average.
Moving east, the Southeast Region is 17% complete, up 10 points over the week and 43 percentage points below average. The East Central Region is 13% compete, up 10 points from last week and 21 points below average, while the Northeast Region is 7% complete, up 6 points over the week and 22 percentage points behind average.
By crop, 29% of the spring wheat (53%), 51% of the durum (62.8%), 19% of the canola (45.2%), 27% of the barley (44.8%), 11% of the oats (33.4%), 59% of the lentils (74%), 57% of the peas (76.4%) and 4% of the soybeans (41%) were seeded as of May 16, with the five-year average in brackets. When compared to data for the past five years, the planting pace of canola and soybeans is behind the pace reported for each of the past five years.
Rainfall during the past week was most concentrated over the eastern side of the province, but some southwest areas received much needed precipitation. The government notes that weekly rains have improved topsoil moisture conditions, but this could be questioned due to the soil moisture conditions reported. During the past week, the percentage of the province rated as having adequate topsoil moisture fell from 58% to 56%. The percentage of the province rated short to very short fell from 36% to 32%, while the area rated as having surplus topsoil moisture has moved from 6% to 12%.
The largest changes seen over the week in the Adequate Topsoil Moisture rating was seen in the Southeast Region, where it fell by 11 points to 65%, the Northeast Region where it fell by 18 points to 66% and the Northwest Region, where it fell by 20 points to 42%. While the West-Central Region showed improvement over the week, the Adequate rating rose from 20% to 27%, still by far the driest region of the province.
The area rated Short to Very-Short Topsoil moisture increased in two of six regions, with the biggest change showing a 23-percentage point increase in the Northwest Region to 58%. The West-Central Region saw a slightly improvement to 73% Short-to-Very-Short topsoil moisture, signaling a desperate need for precipitation.
Cliff Jamieson can be reached at email@example.com
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