Dan Hawkins, grain marketing advisor in Swift Current, gives an on-the-ground account of planting conditions and producer thoughts around 2020/21 seeding.
“We’re behind, and it’s dry,” seems to be the most common response I get to the question, “How’s seeding going?”.
And appears to be true. A Hutterite colony I spoke to around Val Marie, Saskatchewan, didn’t even start seeding until April 27th. They usually pride themselves on being in the field before mid-April, just after sweeping the last of the snow off the air cart for the first fill.
As previously reported, we likely weren’t getting into the field until the end of April – that turned out to be true. I took a social-distanced drive two days ago and seeding that is normally 60-70% done appears to only be 40-50% complete. Where we would normally be in the home stretch, we will struggle to be 100% complete by the last week in May.
Southwestern Saskatchewan has been plagued by what seems to be a never-ending series of strong winds. They are drying out topsoil and hampering pre-seeding herbicide application efforts. Areas east of Swift Current received 7.5mm to 15mm of rain on May 3rd. Those farms are fairing better than those west of the city that received zero to 2.5 mm.
Reports from farms with low moisture levels say that the wind is drying out the soil down to the seedbed once the soil has been disturbed. Cooler temperatures have settled into the area, so that may limit evaporation. Overnight lows are going to be -3 C to -5 C which could damage germinated crops but potentially hinder weed growth, hampering pre-seed herbicide application.
This is a crucial seeding time that is weather dependent.