SASKATCHEWAN AGRICULTURE CROP REPORT — The past week saw very sporadic weather systems move through Saskatchewan with some regions having hot dry days while others experienced cool rainy days that have further delayed crop development. Producers in the latter areas would like to see some hot dry weather to help crops mature and allow for harvest to begin.
Most of the province has not started harvest operations; overall progress has reached one per cent as producers in the southwest and west central regions get their harvesting operations in full swing. This is slightly behind the five-year average (2017-2021) of two per cent. At this time in 2021, the provincial harvest progress was seven per cent, illustrating just how different the growing conditions have been in the province between this year and last.
Most of the southern half of the province did not get much rain over the past week, with most rainfall reports being between trace amounts and 10 mm; the Weyburn area, however, received 25 mm. Further north, the Rosthern and Hague areas received 35 mm, while in the west, Macklin area producers received up to 61 mm throughout an evening. Prince Albert also received some localized and very heavy rainfall, with some producers reporting 71 mm over two days. The rain will be beneficial to pasture land and flowering crops, but producers would like to see warmer weather in the forecast to speed up crop development.
The declining trend in topsoil moisture continues as rains overall have been quite minor and infrequent during the past few weeks. Cropland topsoil moisture is currently rated as three per cent surplus, 58 per cent adequate, 24 per cent short and 15 per cent very short. Hay and pasture land topsoil moisture is rated as two per cent surplus, 56 per cent adequate, 22 per cent short and 20 per cent very short.
Many livestock producers have struggled with their haying operations this summer due to rainy weather either delaying cutting and baling or, in some cases, strong winds blowing away swathed hay. Many producers are still finishing up their operations while others have finally completed haying; hay yields appear to be average or above average in the east and north regions and below average in the southwest and west central regions. Estimated average dryland hay yields for the province are 1.52 tons per acre for alfalfa, 1.5 tons per acre for alfalfa/bromegrass, 1.20 tons per acre for other tame hay, 1.0 tons per acre for wild hay and 2.2 tons per acre for greenfeed. Estimated average irrigated hay yields are 2.5 tons per acre for alfalfa, 1.74 tons per acre for alfalfa/bromegrass and 2.8 tons per acre for greenfeed.
The majority of crop damage this week was due to wind, heavy rains, hail, drought stress, heat, wildlife and grasshoppers. Some parts of the northwest reported a light ground frost over the past week—no crop damage was reported but producers are conscious of what an early season frost would do to their crop.
Farmers are busy wrapping up haying, getting ready for harvest, desiccating and swathing crops and combining in some areas.
Crop District 1 – Carnduff, Estevan, Redvers, Moosomin and Kipling areas;
Crop District 2 – Weyburn, Milestone, Moose Jaw, Regina and Qu'Appelle areas;
Crop District 3ASE – Radville, Minton and Lake Alma areas
Very few producers have started their harvest operations with only a handful of lentil fields being combined so far. Harvest will be starting for some producers in the region in the next 7-10 days while others are still at least two weeks away from their crops being ready for harvest. Producers with more mature crops have been busy desiccating to dry down their crop and make it easier to process through their combines. There was not much rain in the region and this has quickened the pace in which crops are ripening, but producers have noted that more hot days are still needed.
There was very little rain in the region this week with most areas getting between trace amounts and 10 mm, the Weyburn area, however, received 25 mm. Cropland topsoil moisture is rated as 10 per cent surplus, 76 per cent adequate, 12 per cent short and two per cent very short. Hay and pasture land topsoil moisture is rated as 10 per cent adequate, 45 per cent short and 45 per cent very short.
The majority of crop damage this week was due to wind, hail and grasshoppers. Strong winds lodged crops across the region and some fields also received hail. This hail caused significant damage in localized areas with some reporters citing 50 per cent loss on their durum. Grasshoppers remain an issue and producers are hopeful that they can begin harvesting soon to limit the amount of damage by the hoppers.
Haying and baling are wrapping up in the region. Yields are higher than average and producers are very happy to see the return to normal after the poor yields seen during 2021. Wetter conditions this summer have allowed pasture growth to rebound as well and producers are no longer worried about needing to extend grazing if it is required. Farmers are busy hauling bales, desiccating crops, and starting to combine in some areas.
Crop District 3ASW – Coronach, Assiniboia and Ogema areas;
Crop District 3AN – Gravelbourg, Mossbank, Mortlach and Central Butte areas;
Crop District 3B – Kyle, Swift Current, Shaunavon and Ponteix areas;
Crop District 4 – Consul, Maple Creek and Leader areas
Farmers have been working hard to get the crop off their fields over the past week and they now have five per cent of their crop harvested. This is slightly ahead of the five-year average (2017-2021) of three per cent for this time of year. Winter cereals and pulse crops such lentils and field peas have been harvested so far while producers wait for their durum, canola and flax fields to get closer to maturity.
Hot windy weather continued throughout this past week and no rain of any significance was received. This has caused a further decline in the topsoil moisture in the region. Cropland topsoil moisture is rated as 23 per cent adequate, 29 per cent short and 48 per cent very short. Hay and pasture land topsoil moisture is rated as 20 per cent adequate, 24 per cent short and 56 per cent very short.
Hay yields for the region are lower than normal due to the extremely dry growing conditions since April 1. Producers in the region have voiced concern over the availability of feed and the high cost of acquiring feed for the winter. Pastures have suffered again this year and cattle have been constantly rotated to ensure grass is available for grazing. Many producers are also hauling water to pastures as natural sources have dried up.
The majority of crop damage this week was due to heat, drought stress and wind. There are still reports of grasshoppers in the region and producers have done all they can to control them. Now that harvest has begun the grasshoppers have become an issue plugging up combines and producers must spend large amounts of time cleaning their machines.
Farmers are busy harvesting crops for grain or cutting crops for greenfeed. While some are combining others are still desiccating and will be harvesting soon.
Crop District 5 – Melville, Yorkton, Cupar, Kamsack, Foam Lake, Preeceville and Kelvington areas;
Crop District 6A – Lumsden, Craik, Watrous and Clavet areas
Winter cereal crops are beginning to turn and are estimated to be about two weeks away from harvest, spring seeded crops are estimated to be about 4 weeks away from harvest in some parts of the region. The weather over the past week was great for crop development. Canola is noted to be nearly done flowering and filling seed quite nicely. Producers with less mature fields are beginning to worry about early-season frosts if their crops do not see a drastic increase in their development. Some producers in the western half of the region have begun to desiccate their pulse crops due to crops in these areas being a little further along from the drier hot conditions.
There was very little rain this past week which has helped crops begin to ripen a little faster. Producers who still have crops that are flowering would like to see just a little more rain to help those crops fill with seed. Most areas of the region got less than 10 mm, while Allan got 15 mm and Kelvington got 11 mm. Cropland topsoil moisture is rated as two per cent surplus, 59 per cent adequate, 29 per cent short and 10 per cent very short. Hay and pasture land topsoil moisture is rated as two per cent surplus, 60 per cent adequate, 28 per cent short and 11 per cent very short.
There was very little crop damage this week besides strong winds lodging some crops and constant pressure from grasshoppers.
Haying is wrapping up in the region and yields are looking much better than last year. Producers are relieved to be able to replenish feedstocks before the coming winter. Farmers are busy wrapping up haying and baling, getting equipment ready for harvest and starting to desiccate pulse crops.
Crop Districts 6B – Hanley, Outlook, Loreburn, Saskatoon and Arelee areas;
Crop District 7A – Rosetown, Kindersley, Eston, Major;
Crop District 7B - Kerrobert, Macklin, Wilkie and Biggar areas
More producers this past week started their harvest operations, some applied desiccants while others have pulled out their harvesting equipment and machinery and have started to get them ready. The combining of some pulses has begun and producers indicate that this will be general across the region soon. Crop yields are expected to be higher in parts of the region when compared to last year but overall the yield for the region will be average to below average.
There were some spotty showers in the region this past week. Most showers resulted in only a few millimetres of precipitation, but the Macklin area received 61 mm and the Rosthern and Hague areas received up to 35 mm. This rain will help keep crops from burning off in the heat and will be extremely beneficial to pastures. Cropland topsoil moisture is rated as 54 per cent adequate, 38 per cent short and eight per cent very short. Hay and pasture land topsoil moisture is rated as 46 per cent adequate, 42 per cent short and twelve per cent very short.
The majority of crop damage this week was due to heat, wind and dry conditions. There were also reports of localized hail. Pastures are suffering due to hot, dry conditions and some are becoming incapable of supporting cattle, forcing producers to either move them or supplement with hay bales.
Hay yields in the region were less than one ton per acre and this has many producers worried about what they will be feeding to their livestock this winter. Hay prices have risen in the region as producers scramble to secure feed now before inventory runs out. Some greenfeed fields did not receive enough moisture through the growing season and are too short to be cut for feed.
Farmers are busy desiccating crops and getting ready for harvest or working with Saskatchewan Crop Insurance Corporation (SCIC) to determine which fields are written off and which are harvestable.
Crop District 8 – Hudson Bay, Tisdale, Melfort, Carrot River, Humboldt, Kinistino, Cudworth and Aberdeen areas;
Crop District 9AE – Prince Albert, Choiceland and Paddockwood areas
Crops are slow to ripen across the region with most producers predicting at least one to two weeks before harvest will begin. Some producers may begin to swath their barley in the coming week but that is highly dependent on the weather. Rainy, windy weather has allowed less mature crops to fill with seed but has stopped more mature crops from fully ripening. Producers are hoping that an early season frost or a severe hail storm will not occur and damage their crops before they have the chance to begin their harvest operations.
There were some large rainstorms over the past week with many areas receiving between 20-30 mm over a day. The Nipawin area received 62 mm, the Prince Albert area 53 mm and the Humboldt area 29 mm. Cropland topsoil moisture is rated as three per cent surplus, 85 per cent adequate and 13 per cent short. Hay and pasture land topsoil moisture is rated as 85 per cent adequate and 15 per cent short.
Hay yields in the region are ranging between one to two tons per acre for dryland with some greenfeed fields yielding up to four tons per acre, but these fields are very isolated. Producers will be able to replenish their feedstocks after having a hard time managing feed during last year’s drought.
There were some reports of crop damage caused by strong winds that accompanied the rainstorms. Lodged crops will result in yield loss, quality downgrading and increase harvesting difficulty.
Farmers are busy wrapping up haying and baling, hauling bales and getting ready for harvest.
Crop District 9AW – Shellbrook, North Battleford, Big River and Hafford areas;
Crop District 9B – Meadow Lake, Turtleford, Pierceland, Maidstone and Lloydminster areas
The region received a much-needed rain this past week which many producers hope isn’t too late to help the later seeded crops as they begin to mature and fill with seed. Crops in the region are still a week or two from being harvested and they need some dry hot weather for them to fully mature and dry down. Producers are optimistic about their yields since much of the region received a normal amount of rain compared to last year when they were abnormally dry.
The rain was widespread across the region this week with most areas receiving 20-35 mm of precipitation. . The St. Walburg area received 57 mm and the Frenchman Butte, North Battleford and Mayfair areas all received 42 mm. Cropland topsoil moisture is rated as six per cent surplus, 87 per cent adequate and seven per cent short. Hay and pasture land topsoil moisture is rated as eight per cent surplus, 79 per cent adequate and 13 per cent short.
The rainy weather has delayed haying operations in the region and some producers have still not finished, the rain has also caused some feed to become mouldy, reducing yield and quality. Overall, hay yields in the region look very good and producers for the most part should not have an issue with winter feed supplies.
The majority of crop damage this week was due to wind and heavy rains lodging crops. Producers continue to watch their crops struggle with disease now that the moisture has allowed fungal pathogens to gain the upper hand, at this point of the season there is little producers can do to address these issues.
Farmers are busy finishing haying and baling, hauling grain and getting bins and equipment ready for harvest.