This week in the field: Lack of moisture fast tracks crops

By Jessica Dempsey

August 10, 2017 11:33 AM

File Photo

According to Saskatchewan Agriculture’s weekly Crop Report for the period of July 25-31, less than one per cent of the provincial crop has been combined and slightly more than one per cent is ready to straight-cut.

Provincially there is 47 per cent of the fall rye, six per cent of the winter wheat, two per cent of the lentils, and one per cent of field peas now in the bin.

“Producers in other areas of the province have indicated they will likely be in the field within the coming weeks,” said Shannon Friesen, cropping management specialist.

The season is a fair bit ahead compared to most years, but is attributed to the lack of moisture, warmth and dryness in the southern region.

“It is still early August, and to have this many producers already in the field and this many pulse crops being desiccated is a little early for us.”

However, the warm and dry temperatures have been starting to go towards the northern parts of the province.

“That area is expanding into the west-central parts of the east-central, just south of Saskatoon as well. Of course in the north we do have a few patches of drier than normal fields as well,” said Friesen.

While some places such as the north could do with some timely rain, that isn’t the case with everyone. Since harvest is now underway in many places, the dry weather will be welcomed to get that crop off the field.

“It’s a catch 22. We could have used the rain about a month ago, and we still need it, but we are looking to hopefully have a drier harvest so our quality can be retained during harvest,” said Friesen.

The last couple of years have been very wet during harvest, and have set a lot of producers back by reducing quality in many crops.

Yields throughout the province are reported to be average, to well below average.

“For the most part we are expecting yields to be mostly average, and in the drier areas well below. We have heard reports from producers in the north, who got a little more timely rain that some of those yields may be more than average,” explained Friesen.

Crop conditions throughout the Prairie province also vary greatly, but it’s all depending on the amount of moisture that area has received throughout the season.

“For the most part, everything is in poor to good condition, with some pockets that are very poor, and some pockets that are in excellent shape,” said Friesen.

Things are looking well in the northwest part of the province, which includes the Lloydminster area.

“In fact, the northwest probably has some of our best looking crops. So, things have been mostly ideal, other than the excess moisture,” added Friesen.

Crop damage again has been attributed to a little bit of everything, which includes strong winds, hail, localized flooding and insects, such as grasshoppers and diamondback moths.

Haying operations in the area are also starting to wrap up, with yields expected to be normal.

Pasture conditions are rated as 10 per cent excellent, 47 per cent good, 30 per cent fair, 12 per cent poor and one per cent very poor.

Producers are also busy getting ready for harvest and hauling grain.


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