Farmers hope for more snow despite below-average spring runoff forecast

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Saskatchewan farmers concerned about spring runoff
WATCH: Saskatchewan has seen an above-average amount of snow in February, which could have an impact on farmers, come spring. – Feb 19, 2019

Snow continues to blanket the province. It’s enjoyed by some, hated by others.

“February has actually been the wettest month of winter so far,” said Peter Quinlan, meteorologist.

For farmers, the more snow, the better.

“If you don’t have moisture, you don’t have much of a chance in growing a crop if it’s dry right from the start,” said Todd Lewis, Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan president.

READ MORE: Below normal spring runoff forecast for Saskatchewan

Saskatchewan’s Water Security Agency (WSA) forecasted a below-average spring runoff earlier this month.

With about six to eight weeks left of winter, it’s going to take a significant amount of precipitation to get back on track.

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“If we did see a lot of moisture during that time, that may move more of the province back towards that normal runoff-type of condition,” said Ron Podbielski, Water Security Agency spokesperson.

Quinlan said March is typically the second or third wettest month of the year.

“We do have that potential in March, but so far through the rest of February and early March, we don’t see significant snowfalls on the way,” Quinlan said.

READ MORE: New flood mitigation program to help Sask. address emergencies before they arise

Lewis said spring runoff is something farmers pay close attention to as it can either slow down or speed up the seeding process.

“If you’re seeding in dusty conditions, farmers may wait to seed even if the ground is ready to go. They may wait for rain before they plant crops,” Lewis said.

WSA said the driest areas remain in southeast parts of the province, including Moose Jaw, Yorkton and Regina.

“For an agricultural-based province like ourselves, and a province that has a lot of recreational type of facilities, water is crucial to our lifestyle here,” Podbielski said.

WSA will issue its next spring runoff forecast in March.


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