Wet spring continues to delay seeding

© Arthur White-Crummey/Daily Herald One of the Blocka brothers whizzes past on a combine, on the Olympia Farm lands just southwest of Prince Albert.

The wet spring continues to derail plans for area farmers.

According to the weekly provincial crop report, the northeastern region of the province, which contains Prince Albert, Tisdale, Melfort, Choiceland and Paddockwood, is only four per cent seeded.

The northwestern region is seeing a similar problem, with only eight per cent of seeds in the ground.

The district that contains Shellbrook and the Battlefords is at 12 per cent, while the Prince Albert, Choiceland and Paddockwood areas are only at one per cent.

This is in sharp contrast to the southern portions of the province, where seeding operations are moving along and are above or close to 50 per cent completed.

The five-year seeding average for the area is 20 per cent.

According to the provincial report, “ it will be some time before producers are able to get into the fields to complete field work such as harrowing, weed control or trying to combine last year’s crop. Several weeks of warm and dry weather is needed to help dry fields up and for seeding operations to become general in the region.

The topsoil in the area is showing surplus levels of moisture, meaning fields can’t support equipment.

According to the report, if warm and dry weather is not received soon, “there may be some fields that remain unseeded due to excess moisture issues.”

Farmers that can are busy seeding, working fields, moving cattle, controlling weeds and trying to finish last year’s harvest.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like there will be much in the way of relief in the coming days.

The long term forecast is calling for a week’s worth of rain and clouds, along with temperatures hovering in the high teens.

Forest fires down

While the high levels of moisture are bad for farmers, it has led to a significant decrease in the amount of forest fires.

To date, 53 fires have sparked in the province’s forests, well below the five-year average of 150 for this time of year.

For much of Saskatchewan, the fire risk is either low or moderate, with the far northwest corner the only exception. There, the risk is high to extreme.

But just because there is low risk, doesn’t mean people don’t have to be cautious.

“Fires can get away real quick and they’ve got to be planned and attended to at all times,” said provincial fire centre manager Dennis Trueman.

The same goes for people riding ATVs, dirt bikes or side-by-sides.

“Anywhere there’s any recreational activity where there’s a chance of fire, be extremely careful,” he said. “Watch, and report it immediately if something happens.”