About 30 per cent of the 2017 crop is seeded, according to the latest Saskatchewan Agriculture Crop Report. But while the province as a whole is close to the five-year average, actual seeding progress varies tremendously across the province and even within regions.
Farmers in the southeast have 60 per cent of the crop in the ground as of May 15th, according to the report, while in the northeast, only four per cent of acres are seeded. Saskatchewan Agriculture reports farmers in the northwest have about eight per cent of their crops seeded, well behind the five-year average of 34 per cent.
But in the Turtleford area, farmers had about 50 per cent or more of their crop seeded, as of May 18th, said Ian Weber, sales manager for Warrington AgroDynamic in Mervin.
Meanwhile, farmers in the St. Walburg area, which is north of Turtleford, had about 25 per cent of their crop done, he added. “They’re still struggling up there.”
Travel east to Glaslyn and the story changes again. Lorne Schick, location operation assistant with AgriTeam in Glaslyn, estimated about 10 per cent of the crop was seeded. Some farmers have just begun seeding this week.
“Normally guys would probably be 50 to 60 per cent done by now,” said Schick.
There’s still “a fair bit” of the 2016 crop in the field in the Glaslyn area, but most farmers are focusing on seeding right now, he said. Schick hadn’t heard of farmers changing cropping plans yet.
“But probably in the next week there will be some decisions made.” Schick said it’s likely wheat acres “will suffer the most,” as most of the peas have been seeded.
Tanner Martens, agronomist for the Turtleford and District Co-op, agreed Glaslyn-area farmers were facing seeding delays and had the most crop left out. However, many farmers in the region have seeded most or all of their peas by now. A few have “mudded in” their canola, he added.
“It’s been a slow seeding year,” said Martens.
Weber said about 70 per cent of the cereals is in the ground in the Turtleford area. For many farmers around Turtleford, canola is the only crop remaining.
Weather has been less than ideal for seeding, as farmers only get three or four days between rains. Seven good days would allow many farmers around Turtleford to wrap up seeding completely, Weber said, and St. Walburg farmers would be 60 per cent or more done.
“Hopefully we get a good stretch of weather,” said Weber.
Schick said most farmers like to be done seeding by May long weekend these days. However, Glaslyn-area farmers will be seeding right to the end of May.
Early-seeded crops emerging
Schick said farmers hadn’t reported insect problems yet. Crops in his area hadn’t emerged yet, but by the weekend, seedlings would be popping out of the ground.
Weber said farmers should be watching for cutworms and flea beetles in early-seeded canola. “Just be on the look-out for bare patches or anything like that.”
A few farmers with early-seeded canola were also checking for frost damage this week, he added.
Martens said farmers should be prepared to deal with weeds, given the abundant spring moisture. They should also be thinking about foliar fungicides later this year, especially for wheat. “Right from flag leaf they should be worried about disease.”
Seed treatments for peas are also a good idea this year, Martens said. “It could be pretty wet for those peas.”
The abundant moisture does lower the risk of seedling burn from fertilizer, Weber said. “It’s ideal conditions if you can go.”