Producers made the most of the hot dry weather by harvesting as much as possible before thunder and rainstorms rolled through the province on the weekend. Harvest progress is now sitting at five per cent, just behind the five-year average (2017-2021) of eight per cent.
The southwest is leading harvest with 17 per cent of their crop now in the bin, followed by the west-central with eight per cent. Some producers in the southeast have begun harvesting earlier seeded crops that matured and they now have two percent of their crop in the bin. The east-central region has one per cent of their crop harvested and the northern regions have not yet started harvest operations on a large scale. Producers in the southwest and west-central are reporting that they are seeing yields well below average.
Thirty-six per cent of the winter wheat, 22 per cent of the fall rye, 16 per cent of the field peas, 24 per cent of the lentils and two per cent of canola has been combined. Many fields have been swathed and are close to being ready to be combined.
There was precipitation in every region this past week with multiple storms bringing rain, hail and wind. The most rain received this week was in the Humboldt area where one crop reporter recorded 83 mm. The Broadview area received 65 mm, the Vanguard area 30 mm, the Saltcoats area 49 mm and the Conquest and Dinsmore areas received between 1 mm to 6 mm.
Many producers in Crop District 6B (the Saskatoon-Outlook region) have received less than 150 mm (six inches) of rain this growing season and their crops, pastures and hay land have been impacted similarly to last year. There are water shortages across the southwest and west-central resulting in many producers hauling water and continually testing the water quality of dugouts used for livestock.
Rain is now too late for annual crops in the driest areas of the province, although it could benefit cattle by increasing the amount of available drinking water and allowing pastures some relief from the hot dry weather. Cropland topsoil moisture across the province is rated as three per cent surplus, 60 per cent adequate, 24 per cent short and 13 per cent very short. Hay and pasture land topsoil moisture is rated as two per cent surplus, 58 per cent adequate, 24 per cent short and 16 per cent very short.
Crop damage causes this week were attributed to insects such as aphids, diamondback moths and grasshoppers, strong winds, heavy rains and hail. There were several reports across the province concerning hail damage; some crops only received minor damage and are expected to recover while others were completely cut down. Grasshoppers have caused significant crop damage all season, and producers who are now harvesting report they are dealing with plugged equipment from harvesting fields infested with this pest which creates delays and will require them to clean their seed.
Farmers are busy getting equipment and bins ready for harvest, swathing and desiccating crops, and combining where crops are ready. Other producers are waiting for their crops to mature.
With harvest underway in Saskatchewan, producers and the public are reminded to exercise caution regarding machinery and equipment moving on major and secondary highways. Concern about fires is very high and farmers should ensure firefighting equipment is properly maintained and close by to stop any combine or field fires from getting out of control.
Harvest has not begun in the region and is likely still one-two weeks away for most producers.
Crops were hit with another series of storms this past week which has continued to delay crop maturity. Usually at this time, producers in the northeast would have three percent of their crop harvested according to the five-year average. Many producers hope the weather changes and their crops mature quickly to avoid any complications as they head into the fall.
The northeast region was hit by several large storms that brought heavy rainfall, strong winds and hail, which has left some crops damaged. North of the Humboldt area reported 83 mm of precipitation, the Tisdale area 52 mm and the Prince Albert area 43 mm. Producers would like to see a stoppage in the rain until harvest is over. Cropland topsoil moisture is rated as three per cent surplus, 87 per cent adequate and ten per cent short. Hay and pasture land topsoil moisture is rated as 86 per cent adequate and 14 per cent short. There are no widespread water shortages reported in the region, but producers have noted that some sloughs that had water this spring are now drying up.
The majority of crop damage this week was due to strong winds and heavy rains lodging crops as well as hailstorms that resulted in pea-sized to golf ball sized hail. Crop damage from the hail has been estimated to be as low as ten per cent for some fields and up to 100 per cent on the hardest hit fields.
Harvest has not begun in the region as the majority of crops are maturing very slowly and some producers have begun applications of desiccants on their field peas and lentils. Most of the region saw hot, dry weather this past week and this has helped ripen the crop slightly. Most crops still require a week or more of similar weather to get to a stage where pre-harvest or harvest activities can be carried out.
There was very little rain received this week in the northwest region, ranging from nil to 11 mm in the Livelong area, the Mayfair area received nine mm and the Speers and Turtleford areas received six mm. Producers have noted that pastures throughout the region could use a good rain as they are becoming quite dry in some areas. Cropland topsoil moisture is rated as seven per cent surplus, 79 per cent adequate and 15 per cent short. Hay and pasture land topsoil moisture is rated as nine per cent surplus, 73 per cent adequate and 18 per cent short.
The majority of crop damage this week was due to wind and some small hailstorms that accompanied the rain showers. Producers have noted that crop disease has been higher than previous years even in fields that had more than one fungicide application. This is likely due to this year’s wetter more humid conditions, favouring disease growth, compared to the previous drier years.