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Hot, dry conditions taking toll on Saskatchewan crop

Across much of the Saskatchewan grain belt, there's too much heat and not enough rain.

Crop in drier areas are short, thin, province says

The maps show cumulative rainfall from April 1 to the first week of July. Brown and tan indicates less than normal rainfall, while green and blue represent higher rainfall amounts. (Agriculture Ministry)

Across much of the Saskatchewan grain belt, there's too much heat and not enough rain.

And after several weeks of those conditions, Saskatchewan Agriculture says a lot of crops are in poor condition.

Provincially, topsoil moisture conditions on cropland are rated as 33 per cent adequate, 67 per cent short or very short.

"Crops are developing well in most of the province, although many crops in drier areas are short, thin and heading out and/or flowering earlier than normal," the most recent crop report from the province says.

It's a major concern for Ken Clarke, who farms canola near Estlin, southeast of Regina.

He calls it the worst canola crop he's ever grown.

"This will be may be a 10-bushel, 20-bushel [per acre] crop. We [usually] grow 50-, 60-, 70-bushel [per acre] canola crops," Clarke said.

Shannon Friesen, a crop management specialist with Saskatchewan Agriculture, says lack of moisture means stunted crops

"Instead of heads that are maybe four or five inches tall we're getting them while they're only two or three inches," said Friesen. "So of course you have less kernels which means less yield."

Saskatchewan Agriculture says some of the driest conditions are in the southwest part of the province.

The northeast has some of the best moisture conditions.

Here's what the cumulative rainfall map looked like in the spring and early summer of 2014... (Ministry of Agriculture)
...And here's the cumulative rainfall map for 2015, with tan and brown colours representing less-than-average rain. (Ministry of Agriculture)

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