Across the southeast warm and moist weather has continued to improve crop conditions, according to Saskatchewan Agriculture’s weekly Crop Report for June 26-July 2.
“Some of the crops are a little bit late but with this weather they’re catching up, and our winter wheat looks fantastic right now,” said Russ Leguee, a Fillmore-Talmage area farmer.
“Warm temperatures really have been welcomed, and certainly allowed this crop the chance to jump and get growing, the crop really needed some heat,” said Elaine Moats, crop specialist with the Ministry of Agriculture.
“In terms of crop progress, we’re starting to see the early wheat crop that was seeded in April heading. The early canola crop started to bloom a couple of weeks ago but the bulk of the canola that was seeded seems to be just starting to come into bloom now. In some respects it’s running a little bit later than we’d like it, but considering the year, it’s coming along pretty good,” said Moats.
Moats added that generally farmers like to see canola blooming in June; the crop having better success before the hottest summer temperatures arrive. Under high temperatures canola blossoms are susceptible to heat blast, a condition that can result in yield loss.
Crop reporters also indicated that the week of June 26-July 2 held some wild weather for farmers, starting Tuesday with thunderstorms, hail, and even having a tornado touch down near Moose Jaw. The Weyburn area appears to have escaped much of the wrath of the storm though.
“We’re pretty happy, we missed the large storms and most of the hail, so things look pretty good for us right now,” said Leguee.
“We were lucky,” said Dean Nikolejsin, a Cedoux area farmer, “We didn’t get any hail and the winds weren’t too bad here.”
Strong winds in the Moose Jaw, Grenfell, Indian Head, Vibank and Moosomin areas caused damage to farm buildings, shelterbelts and grain bins, while hail was reported in the Indian Head and Vibank areas.
The storm system brought some precipitation to the southeast but the precipitation was scattered, ranging from 2 millimetres to 60 millimetres, with the average being 24 millimetres. The Weyburn area received about 9 millimetres of rain over the period. Above-average precipitation was received in Crop District 2B, which includes Moose Jaw, Indian Head, Wilcox, and Vibank.
The recent wave of warm weather has farmers busy in the fields spraying herbicide and fungicide.
“We’re busy spraying fungicide on barley, durum and peas,” said Leguee.
“We don’t have any insect problems to speak of yet, and the disease problems are more preventative maintenance; we’ve done our winter wheat because rust is in the area and we’re just trying to protect it,” he added.
Livestock producers are busy cutting hay with 31 per cent of the hay crop cut and 10 per cent baled or put into silage. Sixty-five per cent of the hay crop is rated as good to excellent in quality. However, crop reporters have noted some alfalfa weevil damage, particularly in pure stands.
“People tried to start haying maybe a little bit earlier than they might have otherwise because there was an insect in the alfalfa called the alfalfa weevil,” said Moats.
“At the larval stage the insect feeds on the leaf material and the terminal growth of the plant. It prevents the development of the crop and in a heavy infestation can really reduce the yield. This year we’ve seen a lot of yield reduction particularly south of Weyburn in the Oungre to Gravelbourg area,” she added.
Reporters have noted that mixed hay stands appear to be faring better than pure stands.
Pasture conditions in the southeast are rated at 90 per cent good to excellent, while supplies of livestock water are reported as 99 per cent adequate. Some livestock producers in the Whitewood area are still seeding greenfeed crops.
Topsoil moisture conditions on cropland are rated as 22 per cent surplus, 75 per cent adequate, and three per cent short.
“We probably don’t need rain for a while, now we’ll just let the crops root in and enjoy the sunshine,” said Nikolejsin.
Hay land and pasture moisture is rated as 14 per cent surplus, 74 per cent adequate and 12 per cent short. In crop districts 1B and 2A, cropland topsoil moisture is rated as 21 and 35 per cent surplus, respectively.
Crop damage is attributed to flooding, wind, hail, insects and diseases.
Across Saskatchewan livestock producers have 12 per cent of the 2012 hay crop cut and three per cent baled or put into silage. The hay crop is rated 89 per cent in good to excellent in quality.
In terms of crop development, 61 per cent of the fall cereals are in the heading stage; 61 per cent of the spring cereals are in the jointed to shot-blade stage; 50 per cent of the canola and mustard are in the rosette stage and 24 per cent in the flowering stage. For flax, 48 per cent is in the seedling stage and 42 per cent in the stem-elongation stage. Thanks to the recent warm weather the majority of crops are at their normal stages of development for this time of year.
Across the province, topsoil moisture on cropland is rated as 27 per cent surplus, 72 per cent adequate and one per cent short. Hay land and pasture topsoil moisture is rated as 14 per cent surplus, 81 per cent adequate and five per cent short.
Thunderstorms in some areas produced strong winds and varying amounts of precipitation. Hail and tornadoes were also reported. Flooding, wind, hail, insects and disease are causing the majority of crop damage.
Province-wide farmers are busy haying, scouting crops and spraying for diseases and weeds.
There are also some important dates for Crop Insurance customers. The deadline to meet and maintain minimum summerfallow coverage requirements for green manure crops is July 11, in the brown and dark brown soil zones, and July 25, in the black and grey soil zones.