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Harvest operations begin in southeast Sask region

Harvest operations have begun in the southeast region, but some fields have to wait a few more days.
Some harvesting has started in the southeast Sask. region.

Harvest operations have begun in parts of the southeast region, as the crops have matured faster with the hot, dry weather in recent weeks.

Winter cereals, field peas and lentils are the first to be combined, and producers have been busy desiccating pulse crops to prepare them for harvest. Less than one per cent was harvested in the Weyburn crop district (2A) as of Aug. 2, and two per cent has been done in the Lake Alma-Radville crop district (3ASE).

Creelman area producer Marcel Van Staveren said as of Monday he and his brothers are about 25 per cent done harvest, with their lentils finished.

“We started on the durum, but it’s too green in the depressions, so we will sit for seven days until the crops are more ready,” he said, adding they are dealing with grasshoppers with both aerial and ground spraying of crop protection products.

He noted the lentils looked fine as they were the least affected from the dry conditions of the past eight weeks.

“Our soybeans would desperately appreciate rain. It’s the 11th hour for our soybeans, but it’s only a small percentage of our farm,” added Van Staveren.

The commodity prices are still doing very well right now, he said, giving hope for what they will be able to harvest this year.

“All grains, oilseeds and pulse crops cash value are well above last year, almost 1.5 or double,” he said.

There was very little rainfall in the past week, with the Weyburn area recording 5.6 mm from thundershowers on Sunday night and early Monday.

Moisture conditions continued to deteriorate in the region, and many producers would like more rain to recharge the water table and help with pasture growth. Any rain now would be too late to improve crop yield.

Cropland topsoil moisture is rated as five per cent adequate, 57 per cent short and 38 per cent very short. Hay and pasture land topsoil moisture is rated as two per cent adequate, 34 per cent short and 64 per cent very short.

Pasture conditions vary within the region, depending on weather conditions and whether a specific area has received enough moisture. Pasture conditions are rated as four per cent good, 21 per cent fair, 47 per cent poor and 28 per cent very poor.

Looking at harvest progress by crop type in the southeast, winter wheat is 13 per cent combined and 46 per cent ready to be straight combined, with 39 per cent still standing; fall rye is 12 per cent combined with 37 per cent ready to straight combine, with 34 per cent still standing; field peas are 19 per cent combined with nine per cent ready to be straight combined, and 72 per cent is still standing; and lentils are five per cent combined, with four per cent ready to be straight combined and 91 per cent is still standing.

Of the remaining crops, barley is four per cent combined with eight per cent as greenfeed, and three per cent is ready to be straight combined, and oats are one per cent combined with eight per cent going as greenfeed, and four per cent is ready to be straight combined.

The majority of crop damage this week was due to heat, drought stress, wind and gophers, with reports that grasshoppers are still problematic in pastures and crops.