Crop Prospects Dim For Saskatchewan

If the wet forecast proves accurate for the week ahead in water logged Saskatchewan, farmers in Canada’s top crop-growing province are unlikely to plant much more this spring, said an official in the province’s Agriculture Department.

Planting progress has improved only about two to three percentage points from last week’s disappointing 59 per cent completion in Saskatchewan, leaving it far from the five-year average of roughly 87 per cent, said Grant McLean, cropping management specialist for the Saskatchewan government.

Much of Saskatchewan was to receive rain on Monday and Tuesday and again later in the week, according to Environment Canada.

“There’s large portions of the field that are unseedable because (farmers are) getting stuck,” he said. “There is going to be significant acres that are unseeded this year.”

The Canadian Wheat Board’s estimate on Thursday of one million unseeded acres in northeastern Saskatchewan is “very conservative,” said Bruce Burnett, the board’s director of weather and market analysis.

“It’s going to be a big number,” Burnett said. “It just doesn’t look like the weather is going to give us a break.”

Saskatchewan farmers have until June 15 or 20, depending on the region and crop, to plant and receive full insurance.

The wheat board’s last forecast, a week ago, was that 70 per cent of Western Canada’s planting was done, well behind the normal rate. Saskatchewan farmers lag the furthest behind. However there are also planting delays in southern Alberta and to a lesser extent in Manitoba.

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