Canola growers that were hoping for a bumper crop are now dealing with another reality, after heat issues, and diseases like sclerotinia and aster yellows significantly reduced the yields this year.
“There were a number of factors that handicapped the canola crops this year, which producers had the expectation would be the darling of the harvest,” said Grant McLean, agriculture specialist with Agriculture Knowledge Centre in Moose Jaw.
Canola harvest was 95 per cent completed in southeast Saskatchewan and the average yields were estimated as 26 bushels-per-acre by the Ministry of Agriculture. In 2011, canola had a 32 bu/ac, and its five-year average is at 30.1 bu/ac.
“The canola yields are disappointing, and we are seeing at least a third less than we had expected,” said Marcel van Staveren.
“It was a different story from when we first swathed, to two weeks later when we combined and saw the yield loss.”
“A lot of guys were turned off canola because of the low yield results this year,” said Dale Paslawski. “Canola is an expensive crop to seed, and you can go into the hole if something goes wrong.”
Harvest operations are completed for many producers in the southeast, and van Staveren had finished his on Sept. 30. He was very happy with his soybeans, which was seeded for the first time in his crop operations.
“It was a great crop to grow and harvest,” said van Staveren. He added that he wanted to increase his acres of soybeans for the 2013 crop season.
Paslawski noted that a lot of producers were seeding soybeans this year. “I think this crop will be the next big crop next year for southeast farmers.”
“Our cereals were also very strong, which is good because grain prices are at a five-year high right now,” said van Staveren. “We are starting to ship it out and still have a pile of grain on the ground, but I guess that is a barometer for success.”
“Our wheat crops came off good, and I had a lot of No. 1 high protein spring wheat. We had an open harvest for wheat, and now it is time to market that grain,” said Paslawski.
Brad Eggum also completed his harvest operations. “Our yields were on par with the average, which wasn’t too surprising after the way the season turned dry on us. If we had received a little rain in July or August, we would have sustained higher yields, but that is not the way it turned out.”
Average yields for other crops in southeast Saskatchewan are as follows: winter wheat 54 bu/ac, spring wheat 32 bu/ac, durum 34 bu/ac, oats 59 bu/ac, barley 50 bu/ac, fall rye 48 bu/ac, flax 21 bu/ac, mustard 584 lb./ac, sunflowers 1,500 lb./ac, lentils 1,085 lb./ac, peas 28 bu/ac, chickpeas 1,657 lb./ac and canary seed 991 lb./ac.
Average grades of spring wheat are estimated as follows: 36 per cent 1CW, 40 per cent 2CW, 13 per cent 3CW and 11 per cent Feed. Fusarium and wheat midge damage are downgrading some wheat samples.
Topsoil moisture ratings on cropland are reported as 18 per cent adequate, 57 per cent short and 25 per cent very short. On hay land and pasture, topsoil moisture is rated as 20 per cent adequate, 49 per cent short and 31 per cent very short.
Crop District 3ASE is reporting that 58 per cent of cropland is very short of moisture. A significant rain will be needed after harvest to recharge the soil.
The lack of moisture in the ground has prevented many southeast producers from seeding winter wheat.
“We didn’t plan on seeding any winter wheat this fall, but we would’ve changed our plan if we had wanted to seed,” said Eggum.