Harvest 'well behind five year average' throughout the province: Sask. Agriculture
Harvest throughout the province is well behind the five-year-average, at only 11 per cent complete, according to Saskatchewan Agriculture.
Rainfall and cooler weather has delayed harvest throughout the summer, putting it well behind the five year average of 28 per cent.
The recent moisture is forcing many producers to wait longer to start harvest in the day or keeping them out the field entirely, like Levi Best, part of an American harvest crew now working in Saskatchewan fields.
“For [Saskatchewan] it was dry for so long and now we get up here and it seems like it’s just kind of drizzly and rainy every day,” Best said, standing outside his dormant combine. “It’ll eventually come around but it just sucks when you sit there, nice day like today, you’re just sitting there watching it dry out. Kind of tough.”
Warm and dry weather would help producers get back into the field with 16 per cent of the crop swathed or ready to straight cut.
Southwest Saskatchewan has seen the most harvest progress in the province, with 20 per cent of crops combined. The southeast region is not far behind with 16 per cent combined, while the west-central, northeast and east central regions have combined seven, four and three percent respectively.
“Harvest is never an easy time for us, especially the last couple years,” said Shannon Friesen, a crops extension specialist with Saskatchewan Agriculture. “There is still quite a lot of stress out there but you know it is still only September and there’s lots of time left.”
Other crops throughout Saskatchewan are being harvested at different rates, with 75 per cent of fall rye, 47 per cent of field peas, 39 per cent of lentils, 12 per cent of barley, five per cent of durum, four per cent of spring wheat, and one per cent of canola in the bin.
Most of the province saw some rain in the last week, ranging from trace amounts to 45 mm in the Lampman area. Top soil moisture on crop land throughout Saskatchewan is rated as an eight per cent surplus, 81 per cent adequate, 10 per cent short and one per cent very short.
Hay land and topsoil moisture is rated at a two per cent surplus, 78 per cent adequate, 15 per cent short and five per cent very short.
“Even though the rain has been beneficial to replenish the topsoil as well as the subsoil, it’s not ideal for harvest. So we are hopeful that it kind of shuts off and we get some warm weather to help things improve for us,” Friesen said.
Crop damage across the province was mostly caused by localized flooding, strong winds, light frost and hail. There have also been reports of crops bleaching and sprouting in areas with excess moisture.
Farmers continue swathing, combining and cutting and baling greenfeed.