Rains stall Saskatchewan planting

Wed Jun 1, 2011 3:48pm EDT
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By Rod Nickel

WINNIPEG, Manitoba (Reuters) - Farmers in waterlogged parts of eastern Saskatchewan are nearly out of time for fields to dry in time for planting, after steady rains in the past few days, provincial government officials said on Wednesday.

"Every second day for the past week, it seems like it's been raining and raining," said Daphne Cruise, regional crops specialist for Saskatchewan, which is Canada's biggest provincial grower of wheat, oats and canola.

Some eastern and southern areas of Saskatchewan -- which usually produce spring wheat, canola and oats, have received 38 mm (1.5 inches) in the past few days, she said.

"They didn't need anything that they got."

Saskatchewan had too much rain last year that left a record high 6.9 million acres (2.8 million hectares) unplanted due to wetness. Soil remained saturated before winter, and snow and rain since then has left standing water in many fields.

The wettest areas are in southeastern Saskatchewan and southwestern Manitoba, said Bruce Burnett, director of weather and market analysis for the Canadian Wheat Board.

"There are some areas that quite frankly are so wet I don't know if there's reasonable hope of getting them planted this year," he said.

Still, good planting progress in northern and western Saskatchewan and most of Alberta means western planting won't likely be the disaster it was a year ago, he said.   Continued...