Hot and dry weather has helped to significantly advance harvest in southeast Saskatchewan. “It is a pretty good harvest, I can’t complain,” said Shane Watson, who farms in the Yellow Grass area.
Producers now have 56 per cent of the 2012 crop combined, up from 32 per cent last week. An additional 19 per cent is swathed or ready to straight combine.
Combined crops include 100 per cent of the winter wheat and fall rye, 47 per cent of the spring wheat, 44 per cent of the durum, 98 per cent of the oats, 47 per cent of the barley, 23 per cent of the canaryseed, 85 per cent of the lentils, 94 per cent of the peas, 47 per cent of the chickpeas and five per cent of the flax.
Other combined crops in southeast Saskatchewan include 59 per cent of the canola and 69 per cent of the mustard, while an additional 31 per cent and 10 per cent, respectively, are swathed or ready to straight combine.
Watson was harvesting durum last week, and said he was near 60 per cent complete. He thought that the durum yields were looking pretty good.
However, canola and lentil yields are not as good. “It is because of too much moisture in the spring and the heat during the summer,” said Watson.
Crop reporters are indicating yields ranging from average to very poor. Canola, pulse and cereal yields are variable and for the most part below average. Later-seeded crops in some areas are yielding closer to average, with some yields reported as above average, although most producers are disappointed with the yields coming off this year.
Quality varies throughout the region and there may be downgrading due to ergot, fusarium and wheat midge damage in some areas. Excess moisture at seeding time, followed by high summer temperatures and disease, resulted in reduced yields.
Average yields are predicted to be as follows: winter wheat 55 bu/ac, spring wheat 35 bu/ac, durum 34 bu/ac, oats 56 bu/ac, barley 52 bu/ac, fall rye 50 bu/ac, flax 20 bu/ac, canola 26 bu/ac, mustard 850 lb./ac, sunflowers 1500 lb./ac, lentils 1230 lb./ac, peas 30 bu/ac, chickpeas 1549 lb./ac and canaryseed 998 lb./ac.
The majority of the region did not receive any rainfall this past week. Since April 1, rainfall in the region has ranged from 208 mm (Weyburn area) to 532 mm (Tantallon area).
Topsoil moisture ratings on cropland are reported as one per cent surplus, 64 per cent adequate, 33 per cent short and two per cent very short. On hay land and pasture, topsoil moisture is rated as one per cent surplus, 57 per cent adequate, 41 per cent short and one per cent very short. Crop District 1A is reporting that 75 per cent of cropland, hay land and pasture are short moisture.
Crop damage this week is attributed to wind, drought and disease. Strong winds throughout the week have blown many swaths across fields and shelled standing pulse and canola crops. Many later-seeded crops still need time to mature, so producers are working fields, seeding winter cereals and taking a second cut of hay during the downtime. Some producers are spraying harvested fields for weed control. There have been reports of wildlife and waterfowl feeding on crops.
Producers are swathing, combining, seeding winter cereals and hauling bales.