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Dry conditions may force early harvesting in southeast Saskatchewan

Crops are advancing quickly in the hot, dry weather in southeast Saskatchewan, and harvesting may begin soon on some pulse and cereal crops.

Crops are advancing quickly in the hot, dry weather in southeast Saskatchewan, and harvesting may begin soon on some pulse and cereal crops.

Hot temperatures continue to be in the forecast for the region, which will further deteriorate crops, and some producers have already cut multiple crop fields for green feed.

Crops in the southeast range in development and condition, and many areas of the province are struggling under heat and moisture stress while parts of the southeast have been receiving rain with thunderstorms, with some pockets of very good looking crops.

Rainfall in the Weyburn area ranged from a trace in the RM of Weyburn to 2 mm in the RM of Brokenshell, and 18.5 mm in the RM of Wellington, and 34 mm in the RM of Tecumseh around Stoughton. A trace was received in the RM of Francis, and in the Radville area, rainfall amounts ranged from 2 to 22 mm.

“We’re quite dry, and I would say that we’re under drought conditions. Crops are starting to ripen very quickly, and I’ll be starting peas in a day or two,” said Dale Paslawski, who farms in the Cedoux area north of Weyburn.

He noted they are getting grasshopper pressure on a lot of fields, especially along the road allowances and in hay fields.

“They’re moving in on some of the crops and doing some damage. I’ve seen some guys spraying for them, but some guys aren’t as some of the grasshoppers have got a disease and are dying naturally,” said Paslawski.

In regard to harvesting early, he noted there is some desiccating of lentils as they are getting ready to be combined.

“I think we got some of the rain, but it’s to the point that rainfall would probably be too late for most crops except the late-seeded stuff,” he said, adding conditions are looking like there will be an early harvest, making for a busy August.

He said the crops in the Fillmore and Creelman areas are looking fairly good, but in trips around other areas, like Kelvington and Wadena, the crops are looking very disappointing right now.

For a lot of areas, crops are looking poor, he said, “so a lot of our crops are going to be below average when we go combining.”

Topsoil moisture conditions declined from last week even with rain showers across the region in the past week.

Cropland topsoil moisture is rated as 21 per cent adequate, 56 per cent short and 23 per cent very short. Hay and pasture land topsoil moisture is rated as 13 per cent adequate, 39 per cent short and 47 per cent very short.

Haying operations continued in between rain showers, with about 26 per cent of the hay crops cut and 52 per cent baled or put into silage. Hay quality is rated as four per cent excellent, 52 per cent good, 39 per cent fair and five per cent poor.

Overall, hay yields are far less than average and many producers do not expect a second cut at this time.

Grasshoppers continue to be of concern and some producers are applying insecticides to fields that are worth spraying.