(Resource News International) — Although the past weekend saw relatively low precipitation levels across Canada’s grainbelt, soil moisture in the area ranges from moderate to excessive, which has caused seeding delays and pushed seeding dates close to the upcoming crop insurance deadlines in the three Prairie provinces.
Trevor Hadwen, agroclimate specialist with the National Agroclimate Information Service, said about 90-94 per cent of Alberta acres are seeded, while Manitoba is at 80 per cent and Saskatchewan is 70 per cent seeded.
However, crop insurance deadlines are right around the corner, ranging from June 15 to June 20, less than a week.
“If your crops are not accessible within the next couple days, you’re probably not going to seed,” said Hadwen. “There is worry in Saskatchewan that a very large percentage of crops in those regions will not be seeded this year.”
Northeastern Saskatchewan and northwestern Manitoba were the areas seen as having the most moisture.
In fact, 36 per cent of crops remain unseeded in Saskatchewan compared to the normal of 100 per cent complete, according to the Canadian Wheat Board in a briefing Friday.
The CWB also predicted about eight million to 12 million acres will go unseeded across Canada.
“Unless (there is a) significant length of time to dry out (northeastern Saskatchewan], seeding will not happen,” said Hadwen.
“You’re getting pretty tight if you don’t get the crop in this week; producers are probably thinking of not even bothering putting it in, just because it’s getting too late,” he added.
In Saskatchewan some crop insurance deadlines have already been extended due to the extreme predictions of unseeded acreage.
In early June the Saskatchewan Crop Insurance Corp. extended the seeding deadlines for the west-central areas of the province until June 20, but producers are now struggling to meet the deadline due to record rainfall throughout the province.
In a two-month span, Hadwen said, from April to June, Saskatchewan received 250 millimetres (about 10 inches) of rain, which is the typical summer average for the province.
“We’re over 200 per cent of normal (precipitation) for a large portion of the Prairie region and over 150 per cent normal for over the entire Prairie region,” he said.
Alberta is the province that is closest to completion of seeding, and according to Hadwen, it is the Prairie province affected the least by all of the moisture.
“Alberta has probably the most ideal situation in the Prairie region right now with good soil moisture throughout most of the province,” he said.
Chris Dyck, senior manager of insurance operations at Alberta’s Crown-owned Agricultural Financial Services Corp., said there have been crop insurance deadlines pushed back in the province as well.
AFSC last week extended the deadline for dry beans from June 8 to June 15. Wheat and Argentine canola deadlines were extended from May 31 to June 5, while barley and triticale where extended from June 5 to June 15, according to Dyck.
Dyck explained there will be producers in Alberta who won’t have enough time to get their seed in the ground, mentioning that southern regions of the province also have excess moisture problems.
“We’ve extended some other deadlines and I think certainly more of the crop got put in, but we’re still expecting there to be pockets where guys don’t get their
entire crop seeded,” said Dyck, adding there is rain in the forecast for Tuesday and Wednesday this week.
According to Dyck, soil moisture in Alberta has been a concern, because of recent droughts in certain areas. However, the excess moisture, he explained, has brought the levels in some areas of the province up to normal.
“It was very dry in most of the province and all the moisture we’ve had this spring has for the most part brought us to our normal soil moisture conditions, or wetter than normal,” he said.