It took a while, but farmers in northwestern Saskatchewan finally got their rain.
“Even an inch of rain right now would do miracles for the province,” Shannon Friesen, crop management specialist for Saskatchewan Agriculture, said on Thursday after publishing the most recent crop report.
Dry conditions had developed into a major issue for producers throughout Northwestern Saskatchewan, which became compounded by flea beetles. While dry conditions and flea beetles are independent factors, the lack of moisture enabled the insects to do extra damage to crops, especially canola.
“Because this year emergence was so slow, in some cases the seeds are sitting in the ground for two to three weeks before it actually germinated and emerged, so the flea beetles were more active and they had lots of food source,” said Friesen.
Despite reported damages to several crops, namely canola, Friesen says there is little concern about how plants will recover.
“For example, canola, even when it’s damaged by flea beetles or by frost, it has this great ability to actually be able to compensate for any of its neighbours that weren’t able to make it. All it takes is a little bit of rain and crops turn around very quickly.”
That brought producers back to the first problem: rain.
“Producers continue to be concerned that there will be feed shortages, in fact in some cases there already are,” said Friesen. “We’ve heard cases where producers are either selling cows or thinking about selling some of their cattle, simply because they may not have enough feed to actually feed them. In those cases, rain would be very beneficial to help things green up a bit more.”
And on Thursday evening, it finally rained.
Meanwhile, for the period of June 2 to 8, cropland topsoil moisture throughout Northwestern Saskatchewan was rated as 32 per cent adequate, 52 per cent short and 16 per cent very short. Hay land and pasture topsoil moisture was rated as 19 per cent adequate, 60 per cent short and 21 per cent very short.
According to the crop report, seeding is now “virtually complete” for Saskatchewan’s producers.