REGINA -- Thirty-eight per cent of this season’s crop is in the ground, which puts Saskatchewan ahead of its five-year average according to this week's crop report.

Despite the seeding progress, producers are still struggling with the extremely dry conditions.

Gordon Knox owns a farm east of Moose Jaw. He’s in the middle of seeding but said he hasn’t seen conditions this dry in years.

“We still have moisture in the wheat stubble, but I know when we move into the pulse stubble it’s going to be quite a bit drier,” he said. “It’s dry right now. I don’t think I remember seeing it this dry since probably 1988.”

Knox said in past years, they’ve gone into seeding season with moisture from the previous seasons. That’s not the case this year because of a relatively dry fall and winter.

“We don’t have those reserves anymore this year,” he said. “It’s critical that we get rain by the end of the month, especially if the temperatures start to get really good in the mid twenties and if we get any wind, the wind just licks [the moisture] up.”

The southwest is leading the province with 56 per cent of the crops seeded. The southeast is at 44 per cent, 35 per cent in the west central, 34 per cent in the northwest, 24 per cent in the east central and 22 per cent in the northeast region.

The Ministry of Agriculture said the crops that have been seeded so far are slow to emerge due to colder temperatures and lack of soil moisture.

There was a good amount of precipitation in the southwest over the past week with the Admiral area recording the most rain and snow at 25 millimetres. The Shaunavan and Rockglen areas both received 20 millimetres and there was very little precipitation in other areas of the province.

“It’s definitely drier than normal,” Matthew Struthers, a crop specialist with the Ministry of Agriculture, said. “I would say over the last couple of years it’s been getting drier. Precipitation events have been fewer and farther between.”

The crop report said some farmers have been waiting to begin seeding until there is precipitation.

“They can’t hold off too much longer. Once you get into the first couple of weeks of June, you’re going to have some issues later on in harvest just with plant condition and staging variability,” Struthers said.

According to the crop report, dry conditions are a growing concern with fires in both crop land and pasture. Farmers are reminded to be extremely careful when operating machinery and equipment that have the potential to spark or get hot.