Sask. soil moisture levels come up short

More than nine out of every 10 acres of cropland, pasture and hayland in Saskatchewan are either “short” or “very short” on topsoil moisture, according to the province’s latest provincial crop report released earlier today.

In the crop report for the week ending July 19, Saskatchewan Agriculture said the province’s crops remain “extremely stressed from the lack of moisture and continue to advance quickly due to the heat and dry growing conditions.”

Topsoil moisture for the province’s cropland was rated as eight percent adequate, 39 percent short and 53 percent very short, the report said.

Topsoil moisture for hayland and pasture was rated at six percent adequate, 31 percent short and 63 percent very short.

Provincial hay yields are well below normal and most producers are unsure if a second cut will be possible, the province added.

“Low hay yields and quality are causing concerns over the amount of feed available to carry cattle over into the winter.”

In many areas, cereal crops that have not headed out are being cut for feed.

Crop condition tables attached to the provincial crop report rate 58 percent of the province’s durum acres as “poor” or “very poor,” suggesting well-below average yields.

Also rated in either “poor” or “very poor” condition were 37 percent of the province’s spring wheat acres, 46 percent of barley acres, 46 percent of canola, 36 percent of field peas and 34 percent of lentils.

Growers with insured cropland who are interested in re-purposing low-yielding cereal crops for use as greenfeed, silage or grazing are encouraged to contact Saskatchewan Crop Insurance Corp.