Saskatchewan’s key spring crops, such as canola and wheat, are displaying strong signs of recovery after a dry start to the season although analysts predict Canada is still on for a weaker harvest of the oilseed.
The proportion of Saskatchewan spring wheat rated “good” or “excellent” stood at 73% as of Monday, up 10 points on the previous rating two weeks before, official data overnight showed.
For canola, the rating, at 60% good or excellent, improved by 18 points over the fortnight.
The data highlighted a continued crop recovery after a weak start to the season, fostered by a lack of rain.
Low canola quality
The canola crop was in June 3 pegged at 23% good or excellent, the lowest in available data going back to 2013.
The improvement has been fostered by an improved of rains in the province, although the Saskatchewan agriculture ministry said that “rainfall was highly varied across the province this past week”, ranging from zero to 57mm, equivalent to more than two inches.
While crop ratings have improved, the ministry said that “crop conditions across the province are also varied,” the ministry said, noting that “producers have indicated that some crops are in excellent condition and some remain in poor condition”.
The ministry also noted that “some crops are one-to-two weeks behind in development and this may be of concern depending on weather at harvest time and when the first fall frost occurs”.
Separately, analysis group FarmLink highlighted the ability of canola crops to recover from dryness setbacks, saying that “to kill the crop, you need persistent drought.
"Crops can recover"
“The early season drought may have cut the top end off yield, but crops can recover,” FarmLink said, after a crop tour of all three Prairies states, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.
In fact, crops looked in above-average health in Saskatchewan, but were more variable in Alberta and Manitoba the group said, pegging the overall Canadian canola yield at 39.9 bushels per acre this year, up marginally from a 2018 figure of 39.8 bushels per acre.
The group forecast a Canadian canola harvest of 19m tonnes this year, below last year’s 20.3m-tonne figure thanks to lower sowings.
The estimate compares with a forecast of 18.6m tonnes from Canada’s farm ministry, AAFC.
The FarmLink tour estimated an average Canadian wheat yield, excluding durum, of 52.1 bushels per acre this year, the same as in 2018.