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Hailstorm moves through Weyburn area, some crops wiped out

Some fields in the Creelman and Fillmore areas suffer 100% damages.

WEYBURN – Weyburn area producers have begun harvesting, but a hailstorm on Sunday evening had an impact on some of the crops in the field, some suffering 100-per-cent damages. There were also some reports of vehicles damaged by hail on Highway 13 in the Weyburn area.

While harvest is underway in other parts of the province, particularly in the southwest, farmers in the southeast are just getting underway with some crops.

Just south of Weyburn, Dan Cugnet began his harvest a week ago with fall rye, and noted while that crop looks “exceptional”, the hail from Sunday night is going to hurt the crops still in the field.

“After a late start and cooker spring, we have had perfectly timed rains and this heat is bringing everything in. Other than some disease pressure in the area for pulse crops like peas and lentils, everything looks terrific,” he said.

“So a hail event like this is hard to see as it does damage crops and reduce yields when you’re right at the finish line and getting close to taking it off. We are constantly reminded that we are at the mercy of weather, and regardless of how good a crop is, it doesn’t matter until it’s safely off and in the bin or sold.”

He noted that the hail wasn’t widespread, but some crops were wiped out or had significant damage done.

In the Creelman-Griffin area, farmer Marcel Van Staveren said there were damages done by the hail, with 100-per-cent damage on some fields in the Creelman area, and he noted the Fillmore area also had some big hailstones.

They had just started their harvest operations on Friday, and he noted their workers were able to get an 1,100-acre field of lentils near Fillmore off about an hour before the hailstorm hit there. He estimated about five per cent of their vulnerable crops in that area suffered some damage in the hailstorm, and on Monday they were assessing the extent of the damages by Creelman.

Some of their early-seeded peas and lentils came off with disappointing yield, including their first field of red lentils.

“Root rot and aphenomyces and aschochyta stem infection, plus excess water flooding in June, likely is the most significant culprit,” he said, adding they are expecting their cereals and oilseeds to produce very well.

In the Fillmore area, farmer Russ Leguee said they were checking on their fields to see the extent of damage, and had found one field with significant damage as of Monday morning.

Producers in the southeast with more mature crops have been busy desiccating to dry down their crops and make it easier to process through their combines.

Other than the thunderstorms over the weekend, there has not been much rain in the region, with most areas getting between a trace to 10 mm, and in the RM of Weyburn area there was 25 mm of rainfall.

Cropland topsoil moisture in the southeast was 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 was rated as 10 per cent adequate, 45 per cent short and 45 per cent very short.

The majority of crop damage this week due to wind, hail and grasshoppers. Strong winds lodged crops across the region, and localized areas had significant damage by hail.

Grasshoppers remain an issue and producers are hoping to begin harvesting soon in order to limit the amount of damage caused by the hoppers.

Haying and baling are wrapping up in the region. Yields are higher than average and producers are very happy to see a return to normal after the poor yields seen in 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.