A look at seeding progress in Western Canada as June begins

(Kara Oosterhuis/RealAgriculture)

From extremely dry conditions in Alberta to very wet conditions in Manitoba, and Saskatchewan getting everything in between, this years’ seeding progress is equally varied.

Starting in Alberta, as of the last provincial crop report for the week ending May 24, 73 per cent of crops were in the ground, which is slightly behind the five-year average of 77 per cent. The south is the furthest along at 88.4 per cent, followed by the central region with 85.6 per cent planted. The northeast and northwest are sitting at 78.1 and 54.4 per cent respectively with peace country having the least in the ground at 36.6 percent.

Moisture, or lack there of, continues to be a concern for the province. Up until May 24, the province has only recorded 40 mm of rain, most of which has fallen in the south region. Despite this, topsoil moisture is rated at 42.1 per cent good, 35.4 per cent fair, 16.6 per cent poor and 5.9 per cent excellent with no part of the province reporting moisture in excess.

Moving east to Saskatchewan, as of their latest crop report ending on May 23, the province on average is 52 per cent complete, with the five year average of 78 per cent. The west central region is nearing the finish line with 81 per cent of crops in the ground. The northwest isn’t far behind with 76 per cent in the ground, followed by the southwest at 73 per cent. The southeast is reporting 44 per cent complete as of May 23, the northeast and east central regions have the least complete with 22 and 21 per cent in the ground.

Soil moisture continues to improve across the province, mainly in the eastern regions where most of the spring precipitation was received. Cropland topsoil moisture is rated as 15 per cent surplus, 58 per cent adequate, 18 per cent short and nine per cent very short. Hay and pasture land topsoil moisture is rated as six per cent surplus, 63 per cent adequate, 20 per cent short and eleven per cent very short.

Farther east in Manitoba, their latest crop report is the most recent is reflects conditions as of May 31. Over this past weekend, farmers made significant progress moving the total from 10 per cent to 40 per cent complete, this still behind the five-year average of 91 per cent.

In the southwest, a small seeding window arrived mid last week until last Friday evening, allowing approximately 30-35 per cent of the region to be seeded. In the northwest, seeding progress was most advanced in The Pas at 50 per cent complete, and 40 per cnet done in the Swan Valley and Roblin areas, with less than 20 per cent of acres seeded near Dauphin and Ste. Rose du Lac. Moving to the central region, seeding completion hit 60 per cent complete in the southern half of the Red River Valley, and closer to 45 per cent further north, for a regional average of 50 per cent done.

In the eastern region, spring wheat is 75 per cent done, while oats is 60 per cent complete. Barley seeding sits at 5 per cent complete, with some producers considering growing barley as the season gets later. Canola is 15 per cent seeding completion sits at 30 per cent for the south Interlake, and about 35 per cent in the north district around Arborg. Seeding completion varies widely, with some farms over 50 per cent done, while others have not yet started due to highly variable local conditions and soil types. Approximately 50 mm rain fell during the most recent Colorado Low thunderstorm system from Sunday to this morning.

Many farmers continue to push through long days to get their seeding complete as crop insurance deadlines come near.

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