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Hot weather has helped advance crops

Plans for 'long harvest' is focus for SE farmers

Harvest operations are approaching quickly for southeast producers, as most continue to make progress with haying and spraying for weeds. "It's going to be a long harvest, as some crops were seeded in April and others in the middle of June," said Yellow Grass farmer Shane Watson.

"Crops are progressing quite nicely," added Weyburn farmer Jeff Gaab. "We have some winter wheat acres looking close to harvest. The canola is developing nicely, and the hot weather has helped advance crops."

After receiving more sunny and warm weather, producers in the southeast have cut 86 per cent of their hay crop, and have baled or put into silage 72 per cent. Producers are furthest advanced in crop districts 2A and 3ASE, where 93 per cent of the hay crop has been cut.

"Most guys are doing all right with their operations; crops are now progressing to the point of harvest and haying operations are getting finished. There is a good volume of hays, we were able to get it baled without receiving any moisture, and it went quite well," said Gaab.

Swathing of fall rye and canola has just nicely started, according to the weekly crop report from the Ministry of Agriculture for the period of July 26 to August 1. A few fields of lentils have been combined.

Shallow-rooted crops in some parts of the region are showing signs of stress due to the small amount of rain that was received over the past few weeks. Conditions of the 2011 crops vary throughout the region, depending on the spring's excess moisture and seeding date.

"There is some heat stress on the canola, which might have some yield reduction. We haven't had significant rainfall since June," explained Gaab. "But there is still moisture (in the fields), and the crops are holding onto it nicely."

"Things are coming in, and I think we will be harvesting in the next couple of weeks," added Watson. "It is not the best crop because it is down in numbers. The durum looks good, but the canola is short and the lentils just couldn't take the moisture."

Topsoil moisture conditions on cropland are reported as 14 per cent surplus, 62 per cent adequate and 24 per cent short. On hay land and pasture, topsoil moisture is rated as eight per cent surplus, 63 per cent adequate and 29 per cent short.

Farmers are still working on recovering land that had unseeded acres, or still has laying water on it. "We have gone over the unseeded acres with a sprayer, and the weeds are not looking too bad, and are under control," said Gaab.

"We do have plans for fall seeding, and on a number of fallow acres it might be a solution to getting into them for next year," said Gaab. "There is a better opportunity to seed in the fall, and we will be doubling the amount of winter wheat we seed this year compared to last year."

"We are mostly working on spraying down unseeded acres to be ready for next year," said Watson. "Not much else we can do besides control the weeds, and hopefully make it through to seeding in the spring."

For Wayne Vilcu, who was unable to seed any crops due to excess moisture, his operations continue to focus on working on summerfallow and recovering flooded grounds. "The summerfallow is getting the fields back into shape, and we are mostly dealing with weeds. We still have 300 to 400 acres that have standing water, and all we can do is work our way into those areas while it dries up. The hot weather is making a difference."

After he has completed the summerfallow, Vilcu will turn his attention to seeding fall rye, but doesn't think that will start until after Aug. 15.