With Harvest Mostly Complete, Saskatchewan Producers Hope for Moisture




With the Saskatchewan harvest now essentially complete, farmers are looking for plenty of precipitation for the remainder of this fall and the winter to restore declining topsoil moisture levels.


Thursday’s regular weekly crop report pegged the overall harvest in the province at 99% done as of Monday, up a few points from a week earlier. It was the fastest harvest since at least 2015, finishing well ahead of the five- and 10-year averages, as mostly dry and warm fall weather allowed excellent progress in the field. Last year, only about two-thirds of the crop was in the bin as of the middle of October.


Harvest is mostly finished in the southern and west-central regions. In the east-central and northeast regions, 99% of the crop was combined as of Monday, while the northwest region was 98% combined.


But with the bulk of the crop now in the bin, “farmers need fall moisture and snow over the winter to recharge dugouts and ensure adequate moisture for next year’s crop, hay and pasture land,” the report said. Cropland topsoil moisture was rated 25% adequate, 41% short and 34% very short as of Monday, versus 31% adequate, 41% short and 28% very short a week earlier.


Most of the province received minimal rainfall this past week, with just scattered rain showers in parts of the province. The St. Walburg area received the highest amount of precipitation at 9mm.


Most of the crop damage and loss this past week was due to strong winds, waterfowl and wildlife. While the wind continued to blow swaths around, it aided in drying crops in parts of the central and northern regions.


Southeast:

Harvest is virtually complete in the southeast region, up from 98 per cent last week and well ahead of the five-year (2015-2019) average of 86 per cent for this time of year. Fall field work such as harrowing and working low spots has started. Post-harvest weed control and application of anhydrous ammonia has been limited due to the dry soil conditions and lack of actively-growing weeds.


There was very little to no rainfall received in the region this past week. The Grenfell and Moose Jaw areas received the highest amount of rain this past week with just one mm. Topsoil moisture conditions continue to deplete in the region. Cropland topsoil moisture is rated as five per cent adequate, 36 per cent short and 59 per cent very short.


With almost all of the crop out of the field, there was limited crop damage reported this week; there was some loss reported to be caused by strong winds and lack of moisture. Dry conditions have limited livestock water supplies and caused fire concerns in the region. High amounts of fall rain and winter snowfall are needed to replenish dugouts and to ensure adequate moisture levels for next year.


Southwest:

With harvest wrapped up in the region, farmers continue to focus on other post-harvest field work. The five-year (2015-2019) average is 89 per cent complete. Farmers continue to do field work such as harrowing, working low spots in fields, spraying and fixing and cleaning equipment.


There was very little precipitation in the southwest region this week, ranging from none to 6.4 mm in the Consul area. There continued to be a slight reduction in topsoil moisture conditions in the region and farmers are hoping for rain prior to freeze up. Cropland topsoil moisture is rated as 22 per cent adequate, 46 per cent short and 32 per cent very short.


It remained windy in the southwest this past week, which has continued to dry out topsoil.


East-Central:

Harvest has wrapped up for many farmers in the east-central region this past week with 99 per cent of the crop now in the bin. This is up from 92 per cent last week and remains ahead of the five-year (2015-2019) average of 74 per cent for this time of year. Farmers continue to do other post-harvest work now harvest is almost complete including harrowing, spraying weeds, working up low spots and applying anhydrous ammonia. Some farmers noted that due to dry soil conditions the application of anhydrous ammonia was limited and they would like to receive more rain prior to further applications.


Most of the region saw little rain, with scattered showers of less than five mm in some areas. The Foam Lake area received the highest amount of rainfall this past week with four mm. Moisture conditions continue to deplete in the region and farmers are hoping for high levels of rain to replenish soil moisture for next year. Cropland topsoil moisture is rated as 20 per cent adequate, 39 per cent short and 41 per cent very short.


Most of the crop loss or damage this week continued to be caused by strong winds.


West-Central:

Most farmers in the region finished combining this past week, ahead of the five-year (2015-2019) average of 81 per cent for this time of year. Farmers continued to focus on other post-harvest work such as harrowing, working low spots and sloughs, hauling grain, and applying fall and spring herbicides as well as fertilizer.


There was very little to no rainfall this past week in the west-central region. The Macklin area received the highest amount of rain with five mm. Cropland topsoil moisture is rated as 28 per cent adequate, 50 per cent short and 22 per cent very short. The topsoil moisture conditions continue to deplete in the region due to lack of rain and windy conditions. Farmers are hoping for fall rain prior to freeze up and snowfall over the winter to ensure adequate amounts of moisture for the land and dugouts.


With most of the crop combined, there was limited damage reported this week, but the strong winds have continued. There have been reports of wildlife damage to grain bags in fields.


Northeast:

With few delays in the northeast this week, many farmers were able to wrap up harvest. Currently, 99 per cent of the crop has been combined, which is up from 93 per cent last week and remains ahead of the five-year (2015-2019) average of 81 per cent for this time of year. Scattered showers paired with cool, damp conditions did shorten combining days for some farmers, but good progress was still made and many were able to finish getting the crop off. In areas where combining has wrapped up farmers have switched focus to other field work such as harrowing, applying fertilizer and hauling grain.


The northeast region received some small amounts of scattered rain this past week, but many areas reported just trace amounts. The Hudson Bay area received the highest amount of rain with five mm. Cropland topsoil moisture is rated as 50 per cent adequate, 36 per cent short and 14 per cent very short. With harvest completed for many farmers in the region, they are hoping for rain to recharge moisture levels for next year.


Most of the crop damage and loss this past week was caused by wind, waterfowl and wildlife. There were also reports of damage by wildlife to grain bags. Although windy conditions did cause swaths to blow around in fields, it also helped dry crops that were tough due to the cool, moist weather conditions


Northwest:

Ninety-eight per cent of the crop has been combined, which is up from 91 per cent last week and remains ahead of the five-year (2015-2019) average of 72 per cent for this time of year. Most of the crop still in the fields is flax and canola. Farmers continue to do other post-harvest field work such as harrowing, working low spots and sloughs, applying fertilizer and spraying. Scattered showers and cool, damp conditions caused delays for some farmers, but they were still able to make good harvest progress.


There was little precipitation received in the northwest, with much of the region receiving less than five mm in the form of scattered showers. The St. Walburg area received the highest amount in the province this week with nine mm. Cropland topsoil moisture is rated as one per cent surplus, 58 per cent adequate, 30 per cent short and 11 per cent very short.

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Most of the crop damage this week was due to continued windy conditions, wildfowl and wildlife.


Source: DePutter Publishing Ltd.

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