This week's drier pattern across the prairies and above-average temperatures overall will allow for continued harvest progress, although focus will soon turn to the deteriorating soil moisture conditions and the need for precipitation.
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's Percent of Normal Soil Moisture chart as of September 28 shows below normal soil moisture across most of the prairies, including a significant area of western Saskatchewan and in Alberta where soil moisture is rated below 40% of normal. By far the largest share of the prairies is reporting soil moisture below 85% of normal as of Sept. 28.
The attached chart shows the trend in the topsoil moisture rating as reported weekly in the Saskatchewan Crop Report. The blue line indicates the percentage of the cropland rated adequate, mostly seen in the east side of the province. Government maps point to the drier regions of the province on the west side of the province, with the combined short to very-short area making up 65% of the province's cropland, which is higher for a fourth consecutive week and has almost doubled over this period. This percentage is split between the percentage rated short topsoil moisture of 35% and the area rated very-short of 30%. One year ago, the Saskatchewan government rated 17% of the cropland as having adequate topsoil moisture, 50% as being short and 33% very-short.
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