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Sask. experts predict $1 billion boost in yield potential due to rain conditions

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Based on all of the rain the province has received this season, Economic Development Regina (EDR) is predicting a $1 billion boost in yield potential for cropland in southern Saskatchewan.

In partnership with Crop Intelligence, both organizations have calculated a model that shows an inch (25 mm) of rain can have a massive impact on farmlands.

“What we wanted to do is look at on a macro scale of what does one inch of rain mean for agriculture producers,” explained Chris Lane, president and CEO of EDR.

“We used some of our own economic modelling, but we also used a Regina-based company called Crop Intelligence. They are a tech firm based on agronomy.”

Despite the rainfall delaying seeding for only one per cent of the province, according to the Government of Saskatchewan’s latest crop report, the majority of farmers were able to complete seeding in between rainy weather conditions.

Lane said because of this, farmers are leaning towards having a good crop overall.

“An inch of rain, and I might stress that the right kind of rain at the right time, which is what we saw in Saskatchewan in the last week,” Lane described.

“It’s between 12 and 13 per cent on the major acreage that we have seen in southern Saskatchewan, that’s your cereals, your pulses, your canola. When (rain) hits at the right time, then if we get a little bit of heat to go with it, it can even go higher, but we know from that agronomic model that's worth an additional billion dollars in the value of those commodities in this half of the province."

One producer who farms near Willbrook, Sask. agrees.

“Well I think the key word is potential,” said Bill Prybylski, vice-president of Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan (APAS).

“Certainly the rains are welcomed. It's given our crops a good start, the crops are looking good for the most part and the recent moistures have certainly given us the potential. We know we’re a long ways from the grain being in the bin, but we certainly have a good start.”

Prybylski said in most areas across the province, farmers are happy with the moisture conditions. However, areas around central Saskatchewan could use less.

"Here around Yorkton I think things are looking really good, in terms of the amount of rain and the way the crops are looking,” he explained.

“I know our president up at Tisdale is looking at excess moisture where they've been getting too much rain, it's been hard for guys up there to get their spraying done, crops are starting to yellow with too much rain and not enough sun."

Saskatchewan’s Ministry of Agriculture added that some areas are also experiencing excess moisture conditions which are causing stress and disease on certain crops’ growth.

"In the east and northeast they're having some problems with excess moisture,” explained Tyce Masich, crop extension specialist.

“They're less susceptible to drought in those regions, but wet years like we're having now are more susceptible to crop damage from flooding and to diseases developing from all the moisture we’re seeing. Those are the areas where acres haven’t been able to be seeded this year because of all the moisture they’ve seen.”

Yet, Masich added that wet weather conditions are still promising for the majority of crop growth in Saskatchewan.

“It's not dry, which is a huge important thing. That's what led us the last few years,” Masich told CTV News.

“It's good that we're seeing this moisture and yes because of this moisture we have potential to achieve very high yields this year."

Lane pointed out the purpose of the report is to showcase how big of a role agriculture plays in Saskatchewan’s economy.

"Farming is one of the most unpredictable industries we have here,” he said.

“I think the purpose of doing this kind of calculation is to just understand and help people understand how big of an impact agriculture has in Saskatchewan and how much things like weather can change that one way or the other.” 

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