After a severe drought this summer devastated Saskatchewan farmers, they are finding a silver lining.

This year’s crops came early, which means winter cereal crops were able to be planted sooner.

Barley, rye, oats and wheat are usually planted at the end of August in the Saskatoon area.

Many producers had to harvest summer crops nearly a month sooner than usual due to drought conditions and poor levels of moisture.

However, it provided an opportunity to see winter cereals sooner than expected.

With almost 40 mm of rain in August, any crops planted early are already off to a good start.

“If you did have winter wheat sewn, it’s got off to a great start and you know we’re sure hoping for significant rainfall and moisture in October and so on,” said Todd Lewis, president of the Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan.

Moisture is not the biggest concern for winter crops this year.

The province has struggled in recent years with a lack of snow cover, according to Lewis.

“Good snow cover insulates the crop against the cold weather that comes in January or February, so we’re sure hoping to see some snow cover that will insulate these well-established crops here.”

Saskatchewan producers generally plant between 110,000 to 140,000 acres of fall rye annually, but the amount of winter wheat planted has dropped significantly over the last several years.

Lewis added that farming is far from a sure thing since there is no certainty in weather and crop growth.

However, he hopes for moisture to help drive next years’ farming season and, in turn, the economy of Saskatchewan.

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