Last week’s harvest conditions allowed producers all over the province to make great progress with their harvest operations. Forty-two per cent of the crop has been harvested across the province, up from 23 per cent last week and slightly ahead of the five-year average (2017-2021) of 40 per cent. An additional 20 per cent of the crop is ready to swath or straight-cut. Crops that were not ready for harvest have quickly ripened after a stretch of warm and dry days.
The southwest region continues to lead harvest operations with 83 per cent of the crop now combined. The west-central has 61 per cent of their crop harvested, the southeast 33 per cent, the northwest 28 per cent, the east-central 27 per cent and the northeast 21 per cent.
Winter cereals are very close to being completed with 96 per cent of winter wheat and 84 per cent of fall rye harvested. Ninety-one per cent of lentils and field peas, 70 per cent of durum, 52 per cent of barley, 40 per cent of spring wheat and 22 per cent of the canola crop has now been combined.
The current estimated averages of crop yields are 43 bushels per acre for hard red spring wheat, 30 bushels per acre for durum, 34 bushels per acre for canola, 34 bushels per acre for field peas and 1,174 pounds per acre for lentils. Crop yields in the southwest and west-central regions have been greatly affected by the extremely hot and dry conditions experienced during critical growing stages this season; yields are significantly lower in these areas than the provincial averages.
There was very little rainfall across the province this past week which allowed crops to ripen to a point where they could be harvested without delay. The Prince Albert area received 13 mm and the Garrick area received five mm.
Cropland topsoil moisture is rated as one per cent surplus, 42 per cent adequate, 34 per cent short and 23 per cent very short. Hay and pasture land topsoil moisture is rated as one per cent surplus, 35 per cent adequate, 39 per cent short and 25 per cent very short.
The majority of crop damage this past week was attributed to wind and grasshoppers. Strong winds blew swaths around fields and will result in yield loss and a difficult harvest for affected producers. Strong winds are likely to shell out very ripe crops leading to crop yield reductions as well. Grasshoppers will continue to be a significant problem until conditions are less favourable for them. Producers have noticed a slight increase of ergot fungus in their cereal fields this year, likely due to the increase in precipitation received during the crop flowering stage.
Crop producers are busy combining, swathing, desiccating, baling straw and hauling bales. Livestock producers are busy moving cattle, hauling water and taking inventory of their winter feed supplies.
With harvest underway in Saskatchewan, we want to remind producers to take breaks, exercise caution and remain safe. Remember to ensure lights and reflectors are in good working order when moving equipment. We ask motorists to remain vigilant and to exercise patience when traveling around or near farm equipment on the highway.