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Top #10 stories 2021: #3 Drought hits agriculture

Dry summer impacts crop yields
Drought 72
A lack of rain hit area farms with lower than average production. (File Photo)
YORKTON - Each year Yorkton This Week compiles a list of the top-10 news stories in the city from the past year as identified by the editorial staff. From Dec. 28 through until Jan. 6, YTW will be posting one story a day, culminating with the #1 story on the 6th. Today is #3.

A summer season-long drought and extreme temperatures caused concerns across the local region and the province for agricultural producers. 

The result of the below average rain was crop yields being much lower than average this fall. 

However, on the positive side most crops were reported to be within the top two quality grades, and harvest was completed earlier than normal. 

Harvest was practically complete in the province by the end of September, with nearly all regions having 99 per cent of the crop in the bin, according to the provincial crop report. 

The five-year (2016-2020) average for harvest progress for that time of year was 79 per cent.  

Harvest weather was favourable throughout the fall, allowing producers to harvest without major delays from rain or waiting for crops to mature.  

Crop yields varied throughout the province, depending heavily on the amount of moisture received throughout the season.  

Overall provincial yields are well below average, even areas that received timely rains reported below average yields.  

Yields were impacted by the extreme drought, heat stress, wind, hail and grasshoppers.  

Average yields are estimated as 30 bushel per acre for hard red spring wheat, 19 bushel per acre for durum, 49 bushel per acre for oats, 34 bushel per acre for barley, 21 bushel per acre for canola, 22 bushel per acre for peas and 870 pounds per acre for lentils. 

Moisture conditions remained a concern into October, with much of the province receiving minimal or below average rainfall this year along with hot temperatures and drying winds throughout the growing season.  

All regions in the province reported that their topsoil moisture was short or very short for most of the season. 

Heading into winter, topsoil moisture on cropland was rated as 12 per cent adequate, 43 per cent short and 45 per cent very short.  

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