Farming land in southeast Saskatchewan is “baked”, and in need of rainfall before any winter wheat crops are seeded.
“I have only one neighbour who has seeded a quarter section of winter wheat, the land is too hard and too dry,” said Dale Paslawski. “The winter wheat would have absolutely no germination if we put it into the ground now.”
Paslawski noted that producers are exhausting their air drills and there is wear and tear on machinery, since farmers are still trying to seed fall crops.
This is also a contrast from last year, when farmers had too much moisture during the spring and summer, which prevented them from seeding spring crops. This resulted in an increase of fall crops being seeded last year.
According to the weekly crop report from the Ministry of Saskatchewan, topsoil is becoming increasingly dry in many areas of the southeast.
Topsoil moisture ratings on cropland are reported as 31 per cent adequate, 56 per cent short and 13 per cent very short. On hay land and pasture, topsoil moisture is rated as 24 per cent adequate, 60 per cent short and 16 per cent very short.
Since it was a very dry harvest season for farmers, there is also a risk of fires in the southeast. The Ministry of Agriculture received several reports of combines being lost to fire.
“Some guys are out there burning right now, but I wouldn’t recommend it,” said Paslawski. “We are setting up fire guards on our land.”
Cattle producers are also hoping for rain soon, as they prepare for the winter season. There is 33 per cent of cropland and hay land and pasture that is short of moisture.
“Some guys need to pump water for their cattle because their dugouts are only half full,” said Paslawski.
Southeast farmers are finishing the last of their harvest operations, with 90 per cent of the 2012 crop in the bin. The one concern is the yearly congestion at local elevators, as so many producers are trying to store their crops right now.
“We are waiting for space so that we can plug all three of our grain cars and get those moved into Weyburn,” said Paslawski.
Crop reporters are indicating variable yields ranging from above average to very poor. Excess moisture at seeding time, heat stress, disease and wind damage have all affected yield.
Average yields have improved in the past few weeks and are predicted to be as follows: winter wheat 51 bu/ac, spring wheat 32 bu/ac, durum 36 bu/ac, oats 56 bu/ac, barley 49 bu/ac, fall rye 47 bu/ac, flax 20 bu/ac, canola 24 bu/ac, mustard 704 lb./ac, sunflowers 1500 lb./ac, lentils 1121 lb./ac, peas 29 bu/ac, chickpeas 1466 lb./ac and canaryseed 990 lb./ac.
Grades for harvested lentils are reported as 19 per cent No. 1, 48 per cent No. 2 and 33 per cent as No. 3. Grades for field peas are reported as 30 per cent No. 1, 47 per cent No. 2 and 23 per cent No. 3. Grades for durum harvested are reported as 27 per cent 1 CW, 38 per cent 2 CW, 29 per cent 3 CW and six per cent other.
The deadline to submit forage claims and declarations is Sept. 30. If producers have not completed harvest by this date, they may request an extension of insurance. The last day for AgriStability participants to submit their 2011 program forms without penalty is Sept. 30.
“We still have a lot of fall work to do,” said Paslawski. “There are lots of bales to haul, and some guys are scratching up their straw. We also need to start winterizing our machinery.”