Sask., Man. seeding nearly done

Barring some reseeding of canola acres, farmers in Manitoba are done or nearly done seeding their 2008 crops, while Saskatchewan farmers are all but three per cent done, well ahead of the five-year curve.

Saskatchewan’s agriculture ministry reported Monday that seeding is 97 per cent complete, ahead of last week’s 86 per cent, which is also the five-year (2003-07) average.

Except in the southeast, Saskatchewan’s soil moisture is near or below last week’s levels, dropping to 44 per cent rated adequate on crop land and 31 per cent adequate for hay and pasture land.

Rain is critical in many areas of the province for plant growth and development, the ministry wrote in its crop report. Close to half of the province’s crops are rated at below normal development for this time of year.

A number of canola crops across Manitoba’s extreme south and its western Interlake region are now being reseeded due to frost damage, according to Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives’ crops branch at Carman.

Past that, however, seeding is reported to be complete or nearly complete in most of the province.

Some areas of eastern Manitoba received up to an inch of rain last week, while most others, especially in the western Interlake and west-central regions, report they urgently need or could use some more rain.

Wheat emergence ranged from 15 per cent at The Pas, on the northernmost fringe of the province’s grain growing area, to 100 per cent in the Dauphin/Swan River and southeastern regions. Wheat and barley fields in the central region, including the Red River Valley, are at the one- to four-leaf stage, with some tillering starting.

Clean-up of drifted soil and straw in ditches and drains continues in Manitoba’s central region, as windy conditions persist. Flea beetle activity has risen in much of the province and already led to some spraying, MAFRI reported.

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