This week in the field: Weather slows harvest

By Jessica Dempsey

October 3, 2017 3:33 PM

File photo

Northwest currently stalled

Harvest across Saskatchewan has been delayed due to the recent cooler and wet weather.

According to Saskatchewan Agriculture’s weekly Crop Report for the period of Sept. 19-25, 78 per cent of the crop is now in the bin.

“That is up from 75 per cent last week, and still remains ahead of the five-year average of 74 per cent. So, we didn’t really make a whole lot of progress last week, mainly due to some wet and very cool conditions we had,” said Shannon Friesen, cropping management specialist.

The southwest part of the province is most advanced with 92 per cent of the crop combined, 88 per cent in the southeast, 81 per cent in the west-central, 77 per cent in the east-central, 53 per cent in the northeast and 48 per cent in the northwest.

“Particularly in the north part of province, harvest has essentially stalled for many producers, but now that the warm conditions have returned, hopefully more farmers are able to get out and get the rest of the crop off,” explained Friesen.

The northwest made little progress, and is now well behind the five-year average, which is 71 per cent combined for this time of year.

“Most of the crop is mature and it just needs to dry down. Hopefully, we do get some warm weather, and in some cases, it may only take another 10-14 days, and a lot of producers may be wrapped up,” said Friesen.
Some of the crops are being taken off tough and placed in aeration bins.

There have been reports of sprouting in some cereal crops, and high green counts in canola.

“Certainly, now that we have some rainy weather and cooler conditions, we have heard reports some of the quality is starting to degrade in some areas, in particular, some of the cereal crops,” said Friesen.
Yields are still being reported to be about average.

“Of course, there are some areas that are yielding a bit higher than normal, and those areas are of course in the north where they did get a little bit more rainfall than other areas. Of course, the reverse is true that we have had some yields that are much less than normal, but for the most part, it’s about an average year,” said Friesen.

With the wet and cold weather, Friesen noted there weren’t talks of a really late harvest just yet.

“It’s not unusual for us to be harvesting well into October, so as long as the weather cooperates, we should be able to do that,” she said.

While the rain wasn’t so welcomed in parts of the province, it has helped to replenish some of the topsoil moisture.

In the northwest, cropland topsoil moisture conditions are rated as 63 per cent adequate, 34 per cent short, and three per cent very short. Hay land and pasture topsoil moisture are rated as 56 per cent adequate, 41 per cent short, and three per cent very short.

“For the most part, we are still in that short to very short moisture area for the soil, but overall, things have improved and hopefully once harvest is complete we get some rain to actually replenish all we have lost, but of course we will need substantial amounts of rain in order to do so,” said Friesen.

Crop damage this week is due to frost, winds and wildlife.

“One of the biggest reports this week was of wildlife. So, all the migratory birds, geese, ducks, deer, a little bit of everything in terms of wildlife have been chewing and eating on some of those swathed crops,” said Friesen.

Producers are busy combining, completing fall work, hauling bales and fixing fences.


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