Ministry of Agriculture
Harvest is virtually complete across Saskatchewan as dry weather through much of September and October allowed producers to effectively harvest their crops without major weather delays.
Harvest started early for many producers in the southwest and west-central regions after another dry growing season. Late seeding dates and weekly precipitation during the flowering and seed filling stages delayed harvest in the eastern and northern parts of the province until the latter half of August, but resulted in higher yield potential. However, the weather remained dry, and producers were able to gain momentum with their harvest and get all their crop in without any major issues.
Now that harvest is complete in all regions of the province, producers would like to see some steady precipitation before the ground freezes and winter arrives.
Crop yields vary throughout the province, depending heavily on the amount of moisture received throughout the season. Yields in the southwest and west-central regions are once again below average, with some producers reporting slightly improved yields compared to last year. Yields in the eastern and northern regions were much improved and many producers are reporting yields higher than average. The largest impacts on yields this year were drought, gophers, grasshoppers, wind and drowned out crops in the spring.
Average yields are being estimated as 44 bushels per acre for hard red spring wheat, 31 bushels per acre for durum, 93 bushels per acre for oats, 64 bushels per acre for barley, 36 bushels per acre for canola, 34 bushels per acre for peas and 1,165 pounds per acre for lentils.
Quality ratings for all crops are largely in the top two grade categories for each respective crop. The largest contributors to downgrading were light kernel weights due to drought, insect damage, grain bleaching or discolouring from rain, and an increase in diseases such as ergot in cereal crops such as spring wheat and durum.
Moisture conditions are a concern for some producers, especially those who have struggled through the season with infrequent and minimal rainfalls. Even the regions that started the year with a surplus of moisture are now becoming very dry and producers are hoping for rain soon.
Significant precipitation will be needed this fall and over winter to replenish moisture levels in the soil and dugouts. Heading into winter, topsoil moisture on cropland is rated as 22 per cent adequate, 35 per cent short and 43 per cent very short. Hay and pasture land topsoil moisture is rated as 16 per cent adequate, 37 per cent short and 47 per cent very short.
Hay yields greatly improved across much of the province as higher amounts of precipitation allowed for early growth and rapid regrowth throughout the growing season. Hay land in the southwest and west-central struggled once again through drought-like conditions which resulted in less-than-optimal hay yields. Provincially, average hay yields on dry land are reported as 1.4 tons per acre (alfalfa), 1.4 tons per acre (alfalfa/brome and wild hay), 1.10 tons per acre (other tame hay) and 2 tons per acre (greenfeed). On irrigated land, the estimated average hay yields are 2 tons per acre (alfalfa), 2.3 tons per acre (alfalfa/brome), 1.5 tons per acre (wild hay) and 3 tons per acre (greenfeed). Most of the hay going into winter is rated as fair to excellent, with only one per cent rated as poor.
Due to improved hay yields, winter feed supplies for livestock such as cattle have also improved. Producers in the northern and eastern regions have indicated they will have surplus or adequate inventories of hay, straw, green feed and feed grain. Producers in the southwest and west-central report they did not have the ability to replenish their feed stocks completely and are sourcing their feed from other parts of the province, with some purchasing hay from Alberta or Manitoba. For some producers, their feed inventory is too depleted and feed too costly to purchase, leading them to reduce their herd size to fit the feed they have available.
Water hauling was once again common for many areas of the province as dugouts, sloughs and other water bodies dried up and become unsafe for livestock. Producers constantly tested water quality and were forced to move cattle off pastures that had unsafe water, putting increased pressure on already struggling grasslands. More rain and an above average snowfall this winter is needed to ensure that water quantity and quality is not an issue next year.
Now that harvest is complete, farmers will be able to complete fall work such as fixing fences, moving cattle, hauling grain and bales, picking rocks and other miscellaneous field work. Farmers will continue to do their field work until the ground freezes or a big snowfall occurs.
This is the final Crop Report of the 2022 growing season.
Harvest is wrapped up in the region, and overall, the harvest season was very good as the weather was favourable and there were no major delays. Early season moisture paired with timely rains allowed for good crop yields and strong quality. Producers are busy applying fall fertilizer as they have adequate soil moisture, unlike the central and southern regions.
Crop yields were very good in the region with all crops being estimated to yield above average, some producers are saying it was the perfect year on their farm, which is a real positive after such a terrible season in 2021. Crop quality in the region remains strong as well, with all crops being graded largely in the top two grade levels, there was some minor downgrading due to ergot and other diseases in cereals.
The soil moisture conditions in the region have not reached desperate levels like much of the province, but producers would still appreciate some rain before the winter. Cropland topsoil moisture is rated as 59 per cent adequate, 32 per cent short and nine per cent very short. Hay and pasture land topsoil moisture is rated as 43 per cent adequate, 43 per cent short and 15 per cent very short.
Due to increased precipitation, hay yields largely improved this season and producers did not have to worry about sourcing off farm feed. Average hay yields on dry land are reported (in tons per acre) as: alfalfa 2; alfalfa/brome 1.8; other tame hay 1.5; wild hay 1.3 and greenfeed 3.5. At this time, most livestock producers have indicated that they will have adequate to surplus hay, straw, greenfeed and feed grain heading into winter, with only a few producers who expect a slight shortage in feed supplies.
Although soil moisture is not completely depleted, winter cereal acreage is still expected to drop in the region. Winter wheat acreage is estimated to have decreased by 19 per cent while fall rye has fallen 25 per cent.
Farmers are busy harrowing, working fields, hauling grain, applying fertilizer and cleaning up fields.
Producers have finished their harvest operations, and overall, they report it was a very good year. Early season moisture allowed crops a good start to growth, and timely rains allowed them to properly fill their pods and heads with seed resulting in an increased yield potential. The harvest season was very dry, with producers able to make quick work of their crop as they are now focusing on other field work until the ground freezes.
Crop yields have greatly improved this year compared to 2021 with all crops estimated to yield above average. Of course, yields do vary within the region, and those who did not get the moisture needed throughout the growing season saw more disappointing yields but still much better than 2021. Crop quality also improved this year with crops generally landing in the top two grades, there were slight downgrading issues due to ergot in cereals or bleached kernels.
The northwest region saw more average rainfall this year, but many parts of the region have become very dry. Heading into winter, cropland topsoil moisture is rated as 13 per cent adequate, 32 per cent short and 55 per cent very short. Hay and pasture land topsoil moisture is rated as ten per cent adequate, 37 per cent short and 53 per cent very short.
Higher amounts of precipitation allowed for an improved hay crop for many producers in the region, the increased rainfall also allowed for longer grazing periods on pastures and less pressure to supplement feed. Average hay yields on dry land are reported (in tons per acre) as: alfalfa 1.4; alfalfa/brome 1.5; other tame hay 1; wild hay 1.2 and greenfeed 2. At this time, most livestock producers have indicated that they will have adequate to surplus supplies of hay, straw, greenfeed and feed grain heading into winter.
Crop reporters have indicated that the number of acres seeded to winter wheat and fall rye is estimated to have declined by 20 per cent and 32 per cent respectively due to the increasingly dry soil conditions.
Farmers are busy harrowing, applying fertilizer, hauling bales, fixing fences and moving cattle home.