Weekend rain benefits southern Sask., Man.

Rainfall Saturday and Sunday in southern Saskatchewan and Manitoba improved soil moisture and allowed some seeding to go ahead, by varying degrees, the two provinces’ ag departments reported Monday.

Following a week of continued dry and windy weather, farmers in Manitoba’s southwest received anywhere from five to 30 mm of rain, allowing many to resume the seeding they’d postponed, the province said.

Soil moisture in southern Saskatchewan also improved with the rain, that province’s ag ministry noted. Wind, frost and dry conditions were the main sources of crop damage, ahead of gophers, flea beetles, pea leaf weevils and cutworms.

Saskatchewan farmers’ seeding was 86 per cent complete, the ministry said, with the southwest furthest ahead at 91 per cent and the northwest furthest back at 77 per cent. The five-year (2003-07) average for this week is 73 per cent, the province said.

Saskatchewan’s fall-seeded cereals are rated about 48 per cent behind normal development, with 53 per cent of spring cereals, 58 per cent of oilseeds and 51 per cent of pulses also behind normal. About 51 per cent of cropland is short to very short for topsoil moisture, although pasture conditions have improved since the end of April, with nearly 60 per cent now fair to excellent.

Cereal seeding in Manitoba’s southwest is 80 to 95 per cent complete, while oilseeds are at 55 to 80 per cent. Pastures and hayland are reported to be suffering as producers haul water and put cattle out due to lack of feed. Seeding operations in the northwest are about 85 per cent complete and cool nighttime temperatures continue to slow crop emergence.

Areas of south-central Manitoba received anywhere from trace to 50 mm of rain, with wheat and barley now emerging to the early three-leaf stage and canola germinating. Many farmers are now cleaning up after soil and straw drifted into ditches and drains due to high winds. Soybean, sunflower and corn acres in that region are nearly complete, the ag department reported.

In the province’s southeast, cereals, canola, flax and sunflowers are 97 to 100 per cent seeded, with early-seeded cereals at the first-leaf stage; corn is 95 per cent planted in the southeast and soybeans, 90 per cent.

Weekend rainfall in the Interlake between Lakes Winnipeg and Manitoba ranged from seven to 25 mm, with seeding in the northern Interlake now 75 to 90 per cent complete and soybean and corn planting nearly complete in the south of the region. Some livestock producers are short on hay, having stretched out feeding, and pasture growth remains slow.

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