Winds a setback in Man., Sask.

Strong wind last week helped deplete soil moisture in Saskatchewan and took the soil with it in some fields in Manitoba.

Saskatchewan’s ag ministry on Tuesday reported that province’s seeding at 56 per cent complete, up from the 2003-07 average of 50 per cent, with southern regions 68 to 70 per cent complete and the northwest just 39 per cent seeded.

“A week of minimal rainfall, warm temperatures and winds has deteriorated topsoil moisture,” Saskatchewan’s report said. “The areas that received moisture last week saw it evaporate with the windy conditions.”

Crop reporters rated 50 per cent of crop land and 38 per cent of hay and pasture land as having enough topsoil moisture. Rain this week will be critical for emerging crops and hay and pasture, the province said.

To date, the ag ministry said Tuesday, 82 per cent of Saskatchewan’s peas are planted; 70 per cent of the lentils; 68 per cent of the durum; 59 per cent of the spring wheat and 54 per cent of the canola.

Windy conditions Friday and Saturday in Manitoba’s Swan River Valley, south-central and eastern cropping regions sent some topsoil drifting, the provincial ag department said Tuesday.

Dry, windy weather limited seeding in the province’s southwest, where rainfall last week ranged from just trace amounts to about 10 mm. Pastures and hayfields are growing poorly and some winter wheat may be worked up due to winterkill, the province said.

The southern Interlake, between Lakes Winnipeg and Manitoba, saw between 12 and 30 mm of rain last week, while warmer temperatures stimulated forage growth. Up to an inch of rain in the province’s southeast helped delay seeding in that area.

Cereal crops range from 40 per cent seeded in the north Interlake to complete and in the one- to two-leaf stage in the eastern half of the south-central region. Oilseed planting is stalled at 50 per cent in the far southwest but is nearly complete in east-central areas. Corn acres ranged from 80 per cent complete in the east to nearly complete in central areas.

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