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‘White gold’: Environment Canada says snow welcome for Sask. farmers

Click to play video: '‘White gold’: Environment Canada says snow welcome for Sask. farmers'
‘White gold’: Environment Canada says snow welcome for Sask. farmers
The heaviest snowfall of the winter is great news for Saskatchewan farmers and ranchers, as they fear another year of dry conditions – Mar 5, 2024

The heaviest snowfall of the winter is great news for Saskatchewan farmers and ranchers, according to Environment Canada.

“This was like white gold for them,” said senior climatologist David Phillips.

Parts of southern Saskatchewan received up to 20 centimetres of snow on the weekend, with central areas of the province accumulating up to 40 centimetres.

Click to play video: 'Saskatoon battles massive snowfall aftermath'
Saskatoon battles massive snowfall aftermath

Phillips said the snowfall will bring much needed moisture to farmlands, irrigation ditches, sloughs and ponds.

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“Where people were white knuckling driving, farmers were delighted. They were smiling from ear to ear.”

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With little precipitation during the first three months of winter, things were looking bleak in terms of moisture levels come spring with a potential drought on the horizon.

Phillips said at this point, farmers can never hope for too much precipitation.

“It’s like money in the bank. You never turn down precipitation in the Prairies.”

On Tuesday, SCIC president Jeff Marrow and Saskatchewan agriculture minister David Marit announced drops in the province’s crop insurance premiums for 2024.

The average cover per acre will be $389, compared with $446 per acre last year.

Morrow said the drop is related to declining grain and oilseed prices.

Phillips said those worrying about potential flooding can rest easy for the time being, saying another snowfall would be needed to cause concern.

“If going forward, we see more of these heavy, we snowfalls or rain, then of course we could end up with a flooding situation, but right now we can’t call that yet.”

Environment Canada states one quarter of a winter’s snowfall in Saskatchewan, usually occurs in March, April and May.

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“We might see a few flurries here and there and some of these spring storms have a lot more moisture with them, heavier snow, wetter snow,” Phillips said. “You should still see another 20 centimetres of snow falling across the southern and central parts of the province.”

Environment Canada shows models predicting a warmer than normal summer, but precipitation remains a “wildcard,” according to Phillips.

“There’s just not a lot of skill in the forecast.”

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