Google Translate Disclaimer

A number of pages on the Government of Saskatchewan`s web site have been professionally translated in French. These translations are identified by a yellow text box that resembles the link below and can be found in the right hand rail of the page. The home page for French-language content on this site can be found here:

Renseignements en Français

Where an official translation is not available, Google™ Translate can be used. Google™ Translate is a free online language translation service that can translate text and web pages into different languages. Translations are made available to increase access to Government of Saskatchewan content for populations whose first language is not English.

The results of software-based translation do not approach the fluency of a native speaker or possess the skill of a professional translator. The translation should not be considered exact, and may include incorrect or offensive language Government of Saskatchewan does not warrant the accuracy, reliability or timeliness of any information translated by this system. Some files or items cannot be translated, including graphs, photos, and other file formats such as portable document formats (PDFs).

Any person or entities that rely on information obtained from the system does so at his or her own risk. Government of Saskatchewan is not responsible for any damage or issues that may possibly result from using translated website content. If you have any questions about Google™ Translate, please visit: Google™ Translate FAQs.

Deciding on the Final Irrigation

By: Joel Peru, PAg, Irrigation Agrologist

When growing a crop under intensive irrigation, proper scheduling is necessary to ensure healthy crops and efficient water use. The final step to irrigate on schedule is to know when to turn the water off for the season. Terminating irrigation too early will result in yield reductions, while irrigating too late will add unnecessary costs and waste water. The objective of the final irrigation should be to fill the soil moisture profile sufficiently to allow the crop to reach physiological maturity without incurring moisture stress.

In 2016, Saskatchewan irrigators received above-average rainfall, which has maintained soil moisture over sufficient levels (above 60 per cent moisture by volume). This has prompted producers to stop irrigating early to avoid inducing disease or water stress due to excess moisture. In an average year, irrigation is needed throughout the plants’ reproductive stage to maximise yields. Crops typically have the highest water demand during reproductive periods (flowering, filling).

The time to terminate irrigation is crop specific and determined by crop stage or a killing frost. Table 1 describes the general recommendations for terminating irrigation for various Saskatchewan crops. The amount of water required for the final irrigation will depend on crop type, soil texture, current moisture levels and crop evapotranspiration. Using a computer-based model such as AIMM (Alberta Irrigation Management Model) is helpful to determine the quantity of water to apply toward the end of the growing season. It is important to fill the soil moisture profile at the end of the year for perennial or winter annual crops such as alfalfa and winter wheat. 

Producers may also apply water after the harvest of an annual crop during dry years. This ensures available moisture in the following spring and encourages microbial activities such as nitrogen mineralization. The downside to this management strategy is the increased risk of spring runoff, which results in wasted water and nutrient losses.


Table 1.  Irrigation termination periods for crops grown in Saskatchewan


Irrigation Termination Period


Prior to killing frost


Prior to killing frost

Hard spring Wheat

Soft dough

Soft spring Wheat

Late soft dough


Soft dough


Initial seed ripening


Prior to seed ripening

Grain or Grazing corn

Dent stage

Silage Corn

Three weeks prior to harvest


Pod filling


Beginning of vine ripening

Dry beans


Faba beans

When half the pods are filled

We need your feedback to improve Help us improve