Prairies’ latest rain seen as too little, too late

(Resource News International) — Shower activity in the extremely dry areas of western Saskatchewan and east-central Alberta were believed to have helped a few crops but for the majority it was reported to be a case of “too little, too late.”

Bruce Burnett, director of the Canadian Wheat Board’s weather and crop surveillance department, said the bulk of the precipitation that hit Saskatchewan and Alberta on the weekend did not necessarily fall on the crops that needed it the most.

“There were a few zones that may have picked up a quarter to a half-inch of moisture, but the higher rainfall amounts really hit the areas that were further north,” Burnett said.

“The east-central areas of Alberta, to be perfectly honest, need the rains, and while they did get some moisture, it really is a situation where the precipitation was too little too late.”

For the most part, he said, any moisture now would be good for greenfeed or pasture purposes later on.

“From a cropping perspective, in a lot of cases, (in) the crops where you did not see good germination, the crop stands are what the producer is going to have to deal with,” Burnett said.

“In a lot of cases, the crops themselves were planted into no-till stubble, and the plants are not even higher than the stubble.”

The poor germination of crops was fairly widespread in east-central Alberta and the western areas of Saskatchewan along the Alberta border, and were the regions in which the least amount of moisture has been received so far, Burnett said.

Burnett said in the areas where crops did receive some showers early on, and have roots established, the moisture during the weekend was great for crop development.

He also pointed out that the weather outlooks are calling for a widespread sweep of shower activity in the dry regions of Saskatchewan and Alberta again overnight, but there is serious doubt about the benefit of the moisture.

“Even if there is secondary growth, the crops are going to develop too late to be harvested without any major downgrade due to frost,” Burnett said.

Burnett said the moisture that hit Saskatchewan did provide some benefit to the crops in the eastern and northern areas of that province. The moisture in those regions has been able to keep the crop at least from being a total loss, he said.

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