The 2013 crop is in the bin and it’s a big one. Now farmers are busy burning off and spraying their fields and completing other field work.
Dale Paslawski, who farms near Cedoux, attributes the success of so many of the crops grown in the region to the cool weather in July, and added, “Then, the temps warmed up right when we needed it.”
“We may never grow another harvest this big in our life. All the weather and stars lined up just right,” said Paslawski who knows a couple of farmers who have grown canola crops in the 75-bushel an acre range. “It’s an absolutely unbelievable harvest,” he added, and said that he expects it will generate more wealth within the region over the coming months.
Despite full bins, many farmers were nervous at the start of harvest. A late, cool spring kept farmers out of their fields to seed far later than many would have liked and severe hail storms in July left some with “salad” in their fields. Brad Barlow, near Griffin, and Herb Axten, in Minton, were just some of the farmers who saw significant damage.
Brad Eggum, near Midale, said some farmers were able to recover from the hail storm and still get a crop from the fields.
“It’s been a good season,” said Eggum as he was wrapping up harvest last week. “The area average will reflect a very nice harvest.” Eggum said he suspected there might be some records broken but that it was still too early to tell for certain.
“We’re very happy with the year and the yields,” he said. “Other than the wet spring and the difficulty getting seeds in the ground, it’s been a really good year.”
Jeff Gaab farms near Weyburn and is also pleased with how the year has gone, and said he has a “very nice crop”.
Gaab said the growing season this year started out quite stressful because everything was rushed due to a late start and there were concerns about excess moisture.
“It was hectic at times,” said Gaab and noted that it was a much wetter and cooler year than what many farmers are accustomed to. Gaab lost some of his crop in the July storm but said the fields that were not damaged produced crops “in the bumper crop category”.
“The weather is becoming a little more unpredictable; I don’t know what you’d call normal anymore,” said Gaab, and said many farmers were more used to dealing with dry conditions and needing “just one more rain” until recent years. “It’s been a long time since we’ve been short of moisture.”
David Pattyson of the Tribune area said that his experience with this year’s crop may not mirror that of many of his neighbours who had major flooding issues, but that he was pleased.
“For me personally, it was an excellent year.” Some Tribune area farmers also had hail damage.
“Some of my fields (that were damaged) came back amazingly well, but you could still tell there was damage,” said Pattyson. Once the crops were ready to harvest, he was “pleasantly surprised.”
“We had a nice dry stretch to start harvest in the beginning,” he said and added that it helped maintain the quality of crops. “The weather got to be a bit more changeable for getting later-seeded crops in the bin,” he said of later harvest operations.
“Overall, it was an excellent year.” Pattyson said at the end of harvest. His yields are the best he’s ever seen and the returns on that crop will be good, if not great. “It remains to be seen how the markets will react to such a large crop,” he said and noted that grain prices have softened.
The Ministry of Agriculture announced Thursday that 95 per cent of the crop in combined for the week of Oct. 8 to 14. Harvest progress ranges from 90 per cent combined to 99 per cent.
The five-year average (2008 to 2012) for this time of year is 93 per cent combined.
Harvest was interrupted for many producers by rain on Oct. 11. Significant rain was recorded in the region ranging from nil to 43 mm in the Lampman area. Spring wheat and durum crops are between 75 to 100 per cent combined; oats 64 to 100 per cent; canola 80 to 100 per cent; and flax 40 to 100 per cent. Four per cent of the canola and six per cent of the oats were reported in the swath. Fourteen per cent of the flax was standing; one week of dry weather should get the crop off the field.
Damage to standing ripe and swathed crops occurred in some areas due to moisture received over three weeks. Winter crops are emerging.
The ministry of Agriculture reported topsoil moisture conditions on cropland are rated as 13 per cent surplus, 68 per cent adequate, 18 per cent short and one per cent very short. Hay land and pasture moisture is rated as five per cent surplus, 68 per cent adequate, 22 per cent short and five per cent very short.
Nearly 100 per cent of livestock producers are have adequate to surplus supplies of hay, straw, greenfeed and feed grain for their winter feeding needs.