Frequent rain keeping farmers out of fields

By Geoff Smith
August 18, 2016 - 2:19pm

Harvest in northwestern Saskatchewan showed little progress in the past week.

The crop report for the week ending Aug. 15 indicates one per cent of the region’s peas have been harvested, with another 12 per cent ready to be straight cut. Two per cent of the canola has been swathed.

Producers worked to desiccate their crops as much as they could in between rain showers. But Daphne Cruise, crop management specialist with the Ministry of Agriculture, said rain was nearly a daily occurrence.

“You just think you can get going and then there’s a shower that rolls through that drops two or three-tenths (of an inch) or even higher,” she said. “You just can’t seem to get going. You’re just ready to go, and then another rain shower moves through stalling you even more.”

Amounts during the week included 57 mm around the Battlefords, 50 mm at Hafford, 30 mm at Rabbit Lake, and 37 mm at St. Walburg. While the season did start out dry, the late arrival of moisture is causing concerns about quality due to lodging and disease, though yields are looking good.

“I think starting out dry was definitely not what was needed for the northwest but the rains in late July helped when the crop was filling. So I think that will contribute to some pretty good yields in the northwest region,” Cruise said.

Even with the additional rain roughly 10 per cent of crop and hay and pasture land topsoil has less than adequate moisture in the northwest.

Rain also hit the west-central region, but harvest is farther along. Cruise said in general, seeding was earlier in the region so the crops are more mature, and producers have been getting out in between rainfall as much as possible. Just over half of the fall rye crop has been harvested, along with 10 per cent of winter wheat, five per cent of peas, and one per cent of lentils.

Landis, in the west-central region, recorded 77 mm of rain, compared with just 2 mm at Macklin. Both areas need warm and dry weather for harvest.

Province-wide, harvest is three per cent complete, on par with the five-year average. The ministry expects above-average yields except for the lentil and chickpea crops.


Geoff Smith is battlefordsNOW's News Director, business and agriculture reporter. He can be reached at [email protected] or tweet him @smithco.  

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