While farmers in northwestern Saskatchewan are getting seed into the ground, warm weather tops their wish lists.
Frost is “going to be our biggest enemy here, coming up this weekend, I think,” said Geoff Schick, assistant location manager for AgriTeam Services at Glaslyn, Sask., about 65 km north of North Battleford.
As of Friday, weekend temperatures at North Battleford were forecasted to dip to 0 C, according to Environment Canada. The Weather Network expects lows of -1 C on Sunday, while WeatherFarm predicts Sunday’s low at Glaslyn at -2.4 C.
Some farmers in the area have already talked about reseeding, said Dave Shepherd, location manager for AgriTeam. Saskatchewan Agriculture’s latest crop update reported drops as low as -10 C in the northwest between May 5 and May 11. Local WeatherFarm stations reported drops to -4 C this week in the Turtleford and Edam areas. In fact, freezing temperatures were reported in every region, according to the crop report.
Conditions are also dry, Schick said. Between zero and 25 millimetres of rain have dropped on Saskatchewan’s western edge, according to the government’s precipitation map. So far, farmers in the northwest report moisture is adequate, for the most part.
Producers in west-central and southwestern Saskatchewan are hoping for rain to kick-start crops, hay and pasture. Areas in southeast and east-central regions have surplus moisture.
Some Glaslyn-area farmers are “close to the end (of seeding) and some people are just starting,” said Schick. Saskatchewan Agriculture reports an average of 31 per cent of the crop seeded for the northwest region. Southwestern farmers are leading the province, with 61 per cent of their crops seeded, on average.
Seeding hasn’t been problem-free for everyone, though. Some farmers in the northeast have held back, due to frost risk and cool soil temperatures. That region trails at 13 per cent of crop planted on average. Farmers in east-central Saskatchewan are struggling with soggy fields, spotty rain, and a lack of road access because of water. Seeding progress ranges wildly in the area, but the region average is 16 per cent.
Provincewide, farmers have averaged 34 per cent of the 2015 crop seeded, doubling the 10-year average.
That break-neck seeding rate isn’t unique to Saskatchewan this year. More than half of Western Canada’s intended acres are planted, Reuters reported earlier this week. Many farmers in southern Alberta and southern Manitoba have wrapped seeding, Alyssa Mistelbacher, a market analyst with FarmLink Marketing Solutions, told Reuters.
Overall, farmers in the Glaslyn area aren’t facing many unusual problems this spring. “Everything’s kind of normal so far, other than weather,” said Schick.
— Lisa Guenther is a field editor for Grainews and Country Guide at Livelong in northwestern Saskatchewan. Follow her at @LtoG on Twitter.