Rains delay planting in Saskatchewan canola belt

Wed May 30, 2012 12:32pm EDT
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By Rod Nickel

WINNIPEG, Manitoba (Reuters) - Steady rains have delayed planting in the canola belt of Saskatchewan, raising the chances of some Canadian farmers switching to shorter-season crops or fields going unplanted.

Most growing areas in Saskatchewan, which grows more canola than any other Canadian province, received more than twice as much precipitation as normal in May, according to the Canadian government's Drought Watch website.

The rain is welcome in western Saskatchewan, but in the east-central part of the province -- home to three major canola crushing plants -- planting is lagging behind, said Grant McLean, a cropping management specialist for the provincial government.

"There's water running in the fields," he said. "The rain has slowed things down."

Overall in Saskatchewan, crop planting is about three-quarters complete, ahead of the normal pace, McLean said.

Alberta planting has lagged this spring, while Manitoba seeding is nearly complete.

Canada is the biggest grower of canola and the top exporter of spring wheat, durum and oats.

Farmers in eastern and central Saskatchewan typically grow plenty of canola to supply oilseed crushing plants owned by Cargill Ltd CARGIL.UL, Richardson International Limited, and one co-owned by Louis Dreyfus Corp LOUDR.UL and Mitsui & Co Ltd (8031.T: Quote).   Continued...