This week in the field: Rain slows harvest

By Jessica Dempsey

September 27, 2017 2:11 PM

File Photo

Northwest is right on par for harvest production

The cooler temperatures and wet weather have delayed some producers in the province of Saskatchewan during harvest.

According to Saskatchewan Agriculture’s weekly Crop Report for the period of Sept 12-18, the province now has 75 per cent of the crop combined and 16 per cent of the crop is swathed or ready to straight cut.

While it’s only up 10 per cent from last week, it is still well ahead of the five-year average, which is 58 per cent combined.

“We did have some showers and cooler weather that certainly delayed producers, but we are hoping the weather improves and we can get back out there pretty soon,” said Shannon Friesen, cropping management specialist.

The rain, which hit most of the province, had a mixed reaction from producers.

“It was welcomed by most producers in the south and central parts, and areas in the north. But, in particular, we did hear around Lloyd and Meadow Lake that they did get about one-two inches, so that will certainly delay things further as it has been very wet there,” explained Friesen.

Harvest is most advanced in the southwest region where 89 per cent of the crop is combined, the southeast has 86 per cent combined, 74 per cent in the west-central, 72 per cent in the east-central, 53 per cent in the northeast, and 46 per cent in the northwest.

The northwest region, which holds Lloydminster and area, is steady for its harvest progress and is slightly ahead of the five-year average which is 44 per cent combined.

“It’s still mid-September, so there is still lots of time for harvest to continue, and we are just hopeful that the weather improves, the fields dry up, and farmers can get back out there,” said Friesen.

Crop District 9B, which Lloydminster is in, is reporting 35 per cent
combined.

“It’s likely due to just excess moisture and a lot of fields not being able to hold equipment efficiently, some of the crop has not matured as quickly as others, and of course, a lot of that is tuff as well. So, producers are just waiting and hoping things dry up,” said Friesen.

While it’s not the time to worry yet, Friesen noted there is always the thought of a repeat from last year, when harvest didn’t completely finish until the spring.

“It is still something that is always on our minds, but we do have lots of time prior to freeze up. Last year what really set us back was a snowstorm in early October, so far the forecast looks to be relatively snow-free for the next week or two, hopefully, month or two,” she said.

Overall crop quality throughout the province has been fairly good.

“We have heard some of the cereal protein is lower than normal, and we have had some lighter bushel weights, but for the most part, diseases have been minimal and weathering damage, such as bleaching and staining has been minimal,” said Friesen.

Estimated yields throughout the province are very scattered.

“Even on individual farms yields can vary from well below average, to average, or above. In particular, the north part of the province, because they did get a little bit more moisture, yields are average to above average for most producers,” said Friesen.

Most crop damage is being attributed to strong winds, lack of moisture, and frost.

Producers are busy with harvest operations, hauling bales and moving cattle.

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