This week in the field: Lack of moisture main damage to crop

By Jessica Dempsey

September 19, 2017 2:13 PM

File Photo

Northwest has made significant progress in harvest

Saskatchewan producers were making good progress to start the month of September.

According to Saskatchewan Agriculture’s Weekly Crop Report for the period of Sept. 5-11, 65 per cent of the crop is now combined.

That is up from the five-year average of 40 per cent.

“We have had a very long stretch of warm and dry conditions that have allowed a lot of producers to get the crop off, and of course, in good condition as well,” explained Shannon Friesen, cropping management specialist.

The southern part of the province is most advanced as usual. The southwest region now has 86 per cent of the crop combined, 76 per cent in the southeast, 66 per cent in the west-central, 57 per cent in the east-central, 37 per cent in the northeast and 35 per cent in the northwest.

The northwest, which holds Lloydminster and area, is well ahead of their five-year average of 22 per cent combined.

Producers have even made significant progress from last week.

“It is up from 18 per cent last week. Certainly, harvest progress nearly doubled for producers up to that way. Most of that was due to some very ideal harvest conditions – warm, dry, long days -,” said Friesen.

Even though it is ideal harvest conditions, the topsoil moisture will start to worsen.

Cropland topsoil moisture conditions for the area are rated as 38 per cent adequate, 44 per cent short, and 18 per cent very short.

Hay land and pasture topsoil moisture are rated as 35 per cent adequate, 49 per cent short, and 16 per cent very short.

“Along with the warm and dry conditions, as much as it’s ideal to get the crop off in good condition, it really hasn’t done us any favours in terms of having the soil so dry. So, we have heard many reports of combine fires, grass fires, pastures, equipment, a little bit of everything,” said Friesen.

Due to the dry conditions, there have also been reports many producers are hesitant about seeding fall cereals.

“They are unsure if those crops will emerge, but certainly we have heard with the rain in the forecast, many producers have been actively seeding, and hopefully we do get a bit of moisture for those crops to germinate and establish themselves prior to winter,” said Friesen.

The report also noted quality in crop grades are looking good.

For the region, it is estimated field pea grades are 23 per cent 1CAN, 70 per cent 2CAN and seven per cent 3CAN. Estimated lentil grades are 32 per cent 1CAN, 52 per cent 2CAN and 16 per cent 3CAN.

“Things have been very good there. We have seen minimal disease, so that is certainly helping us achieve some higher grades,” added Friesen.

Crop damage this week is attributed to the lack of moisture and strong winds.

“Now that it is a bit cooler out, we may see some issues with harvesting delays and the crop not drying down as much,” said Friesen.

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