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Saskatchewan farmers hope for a rainy spring season

Staff writers
March 5, 2012 — Saskatchewan has had a relatively dry winter, but farmers are keeping their fingers crossed for a rainy spring season.

Projected precipitation across the country
Projected precipitation across the country

“Saskatchewan and Manitoba are no strangers to dry and mild winters, but what’s been noticeable this year is the lack of snow and the lack of winter storms," says Dayna Vettese is a meteorologist at The Weather Network.

"We’ve seen maybe 10 systems that have warranted snowfall warnings across Saskatchewan and Manitoba. So that’s really been the question: where’s all of our snow gone, why aren't we getting any snowstorms?,” says Vettese.

When we asked viewers about this mild and dry winter, one of the most frequently asked questions was: “What does this weather mean for our farmers?"

We spoke with farmer Eileen Davidson, who is one hour south of Swift Current, to find out if farmers in the province are nervous about this upcoming spring season.

Spring soil moisture is more dependent on spring rain than winter snow
Spring soil moisture is more dependent on spring rain than winter snow

“There is some concern for some of the crops and some of the crops that we’re growing in this area now are winter wheat crops," says Davidson. "The winter wheat crops do like a covering of snow. It’s really hard to say that this is a drought at this stage because it can change overnight. Hopefully this season can change because rain at the right time makes all the difference for farmers.”

We also spoke with Agroclimate Specialist Trevor Hadwen, who is with the National Agro-Climate Information Service. He notes that spring soil moisture is more dependent on spring rain than winter snow.

“The winter snowfall provides a good runoff to replenish the stream flows and replenish the water supplies in Prairie dugouts and reservoirs," says Hadwen.

"However the spring rains and the sustained rains throughout the summer period is really what the crops require. But given the low snow pack, that’s going to mean the soil’s going to dry out quicker and producers will be able to get on to the fields earlier than normal.”

For an early look at what this spring could hold, check out our 2012 Spring Outlook.

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