Skip to content

April showers would be a boon to Sask. farmers

After a dry finish to the last growing season, precipitation would be a welcome sight as farmer prepare to seed.
agronomist in field
An agronomist in a field. (Shutterstock)

Saskatchewan producers were hoping for precipitation for much of the last year and they could use some to start this year’s growing season.

“If we don’t get much moisture guys are going to be out in the field scratching, probably a bit sooner than later,” said Cory Jacob, Crops Extension Specialist for the Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture.

“We had dry conditions last growing season, so we could use a good rainfall here in April before seeding gets going. That would be a big plus, whether it’s in the form of rain or if Mother Nature thinks snow is more appropriate.”

After a historically cold February, a quick start to spring has seen most of the snow disappear well before the end of March.

“It didn’t take long for that snow to disappear when it was melting, that’s for sure,” said Jacob who noted that there isn’t much moisture in snow, typically, which meant it didn’t have a significant impact on growing conditions. “It was an average amount of snow and maybe a bit less in some areas.”

In the provincial government’s final crop report of the fall in November, the cropland topsoil moisture heading into winter in the southwest was rated as 59 per cent adequate, 37 per cent short and four per cent very short.

“With dry conditions last year… the moisture reserves that were in the soil are pretty much used up. So definitely a recharge would be welcome,” Jacob said.

The lack of moisture in the fall negatively impacted winter growing in a lot of areas as well. The crop report stated that “the number of acres seeded to winter cereals is below average in most areas.” The report added that while September saw some rain and snow “many producers did not seed winter cereals as fields were still too dry and there were concerns that crops would not germinate and establish properly prior to winter.”

Spring seeding doesn’t typically commence until the end of April and Jacob said if there aren’t any April showers, precipitation in May would also be most welcome.

“(Precipitation in April) would be ideal to get us set up for seeding. If not, then hopefully during seeding or right after seeding we can get some precipitation to get the crop germinating and off and growing,” Jacob said.