'Below normal' moisture conditions expected in Southern Sask.

The Water Security Agency says low snow cover through much of southern Saskatchewan will lead to below normal moisture conditions in the area heading in to spring.

Ron Podbielski, communications manager for the WSA, said the ground in the area is currently dry causing infiltration in to the soil and with no substantial increase to runoff there will be some issues with dry conditions.

“Pending any precipitation in April because, of course, we still know that historically we get a lot of precipitation in April, again, tending to see a drier than normal spring as we look out right now," explained Podbielski of the situation.

Without the runoff in south central Saskatchewan, the Souris River system is currently “quite dry”.

"Certainly its potential, based on where we are today, for those lakes to kind of be at the lower level of what I call their lower operating range," said Podbielski.

He added since the dryness is the result of a lack of snow cover in the area, meaning if the precipitation earlier this week had fallen on to a lot of snow cover it could have helped alleviate the problem.

Podbielski said dugouts and sloughs are also seeing potential to be drier than normal this spring, and according to Samantha Marcino, crops extension specialist at the Ministry of Agriculture’s regional office in Yorkton, this could be an issue for producers who use these for spray water.

"If you're switching to a different water source or to well water it's really important to get it tested just so you know where all your mineral levels are at and if that's going to cause issues with any of your herbicide spraying," said Marcino.

 

Overall, Marcino said while it is dry there should still be enough moisture to germinate a crop and get it rolling.

"I don't think it's anything to panic about, it's something to keep in the back of you mind, but the sky isn't falling yet so you can make plans based on it being maybe a bit drier but the crop isn't lost yet," added Marcino.

The concern, she said, is the lack of subsoil moisture, meaning timely rains throughout the season will be important in getting crops going.

"Early spring rains can do such a world of difference for a crop and it really depends on the weather, so if we get really hot weather we're going to need more rain, but, I mean ideally if we could get a rain every like two weeks in the perfect world it would be awesome but it never seems to work that way."

If the rains don't come and the soil is going to be drier, she emphasized the importance of fertilizer placement and realistic expectations from the start.